Scientific Name: Senna alata
Synonyms: Cassia alata, Herpetica alata
Common Names: Emperor's Candlesticks, Candle Bush, Candlebush, Golden Candle, Candlestick Senna, Christmas-candle, Ringworm Senna, Ringworm Bush
Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub, Subshrub
Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized ornamental garden plant is native to South America.
Flower Color: Brilliant yellow, Golden-orange
Height: Up to 16 feet (5 m) tall, but usually much less
Description: The flowers are densely clustered in erect, oblong, candle-like racemes. The individual flowers have 5 cupped petals and look like they are partly closed. The flower buds at the tips of the racemes are covered by protective, translucent, yellow to orange, petal-like bracts. The flowers are followed by up to 8 inch (20 cm) long, four-angled, winged bean pods containing tan or brown, 1/4 inch (6 mm) long seeds. The leaves are green, alternate, and pinnately compound with up to 14 pairs of oblong to egg-shaped leaflets. The plants are branched, woody, and upright.
The antifungal juice from the plant has been used on the skin as an herbal treatment for ringworm (a fungal skin infection), which is why this plant is sometimes called Ringworm Senna or Ringworm Bush.
Here in Hawaii, Emperor's Candlesticks can form dense stands in lush pastures and at the sunlit edges of forests.
Poisonous – The leaves are poisonous if eaten, and the rest of the plant may be as well.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus: Senna Mill. – senna
Species: Senna alata (L.) Roxb. – emperor's candlesticks
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