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Senna lindheimeriana (Lindheimer's senna)
Page, Lee

Senna lindheimeriana

Senna lindheimeriana (Scheele) Irwin & Barneby

Lindheimer's Senna, Velvet Leaf Senna, Velvetleaf Senna, Velvet-leaf Wild Sensitive-plant, Puppy-dog Ears

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Cassia lindheimeriana

USDA Symbol: SELI4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Velvet-leaf wild sensitive-plant or Lindheimer's senna is a bushy perennial, 3-6 ft. high. Its yellow, 1 1/2 in. flowers are borne in terminal or upper axillary, spike-like racemes. The 5 oval petals are crimped at the edges. The compound leaves have 4-8 pairs of leaflets that are oval, sometimes pointed, and covered with soft hairs and are arranged spirally around the stems.

This plant is effective in a wildflower garden as either a specimen or background plant. The seeds provide an important source of food for birds.

This species is named after Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879) who is often called the Father of Texas Botany because of his work as the first permanent-resident plant collector in Texas. In 1834 Lindheimer immigrated to the United States as a political refugee. He spent from 1843-1852 collecting specimens in Texas. In 1844 he settled in New Braunfels, Texas, and was granted land on the banks of the Comal River, where he continued his plant collecting and attempted to establish a botanical garden. He shared his findings with many others who shared his interest in botany, including Ferdinand von Roemer and Adolph Scheele. Lindheimer is credited with the discovery of several hundred plant species. In addition his name is used to designate forty-eight species and subspecies of plants. He is buried in New Braunfels. His house, on Comal Street in New Braunfels, is now a museum.


From the Image Gallery

73 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct


Native Distribution: C. & w. TX to s.e. AZ & adjacent Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry, rocky fields & hills

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils. Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam


Use Ornamental: This plant is effective in a wildflower garden as either a specimen or background plant.
Use Wildlife: Seeds provide an important source of food for birds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Sleepy Orange, Sulphur butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

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)

Sleepy Orange
(Abaeis nicippe)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Propagation Material: Seeds
Seed Collection: Collect pods in late summer when they have turned brown and begun to dry.
Seed Treatment: Air-dry seeds after they have been removed and store in sealed containers.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Medicinal plants at the Wildflower Center
April 19, 2006
What kinds of medicinal plants do you have at the Wildflower Center?
view the full question and answer

List of native perennial Texas flowers
March 13, 2006
Good day, I am searching for a list of native Texas flowers (preferably perennials) for a flower garden. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Naval Air Station Kingsville - Kingsville, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0142 Collected Sept. 28, 1991 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
NPSOT 0035 Collected Sept. 22, 1990 in Bexar County by Judith C. Berry
NPSOT 0556 Collected Sep 26, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
NPSOT 0566 Collected Sep 29, 1988 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0132 Collected Sept. 17, 1991 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps

5 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-54 Collected 2006-11-16 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


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 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-07-08
Research By: TWC Staff

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