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Senna hebecarpa (American senna)
Makin, Julie

Senna hebecarpa

Senna hebecarpa (Fernald) Irwin & Barneby

American Senna, Wild Senna

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Cassia hebecarpa, Cassia hebecarpa var. longipila, Senna hebecarpa var. longipila

USDA Symbol: SEHE3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Clusters of light yellow to orange flowers atop a sparsely branched perennial or in axils of compound leaves.

The flowers of this large plant are not typically pea-like. Two other species, Sicklepod (S. obtusifolia) and Coffee Senna (S. occidentalis), are also found in the East. Southern Wild Senna (S. marilandica) is a more southern species with fewer flowers and bigger leaflets.


From the Image Gallery

19 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug


USA: CT , DC , DE , GA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: Ontario; Maine south to Georgia and northwest to Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Native Habitat: Moist open woods and disturbed areas.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Moist to average soil, sand to heavier loam.
Conditions Comments: Easy to care for.


Warning: Plants of this genus (and herbal remedies derived from them) can cause poisoning and fatal illness in humans. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable becaus
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Larval Host: Cloudless sulphurs

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Cloudless Sulphur
(Phoebis sennae)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Propagation Material: Clump Division , Seeds
Description: Easy to start from seed or divide plant in early spring or fall.
Seed Collection: Seed matures in early fall.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle
Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Senna hebecarpa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Senna hebecarpa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Senna hebecarpa


Record Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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