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Cassia is a large genus with some 500 species, among which are a number of highly attractive flowering trees. This is a medium to large tree (Height: 18-20 Feet. Spread: 15-18 Feet) with ovate, pointed leaflets; when these drop, usually in the dry season, masses of bright gold flower clusters appear on almost every branch. Cassia likes full sun and well-drained soil and to bloom profusely require a dry season. Bright yellow clusters of flowers. Pea-like pod containing 3 to 5 seeds. Season: Fall - Winter. Specimen or Landscape Tree.
Sesbania sesban, also known as the Egyptian pea, is an evergreen shrub native to Africa. It typically grows as a large shrub 5-10 ft tall, but can reach sizes of 10-20 ft in height. It is a fast-growing, small size tree with pendant yellow and orange flowers and long, slender pods. This plant grows in full sun. It attracts beneficial insects and animals such as butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds.
This plant is tolerant of salt and can be planted near the seaside. It is also cold hardy, making it suitable for growing in USDA Zone 9-11. A mature plant can withstand temperatures as low as 30°F (for a short time). It is suitable for growing in pots in cold regions.
When growing Sesbania sesban, choose a location with full sun and well-drained soil. Water regularly and keep the soil evenly moist by mulching in the summer. Fertilize every two to three months during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. Prune to increase air circulation, shape or remove dead shoots or flowers. Propagate from seed or cuttings. Protect from cold temperatures by covering during the winter months.
Sicana odorifera, commonly known as Cassabanana, is a tropical vine native to Brazil. It is a hardy, fast-growing climber that requires a supportive trellis, and can climb up to 2 feet. The foliage of this plant is a deep, glossy green, and it produces fragrant yellow and orange flowers from spring through summer. In USDA Hardiness Zone 6-10, the plant is a perennial and can thrive in full sun to semi-shade, and with moderate to regular watering.
In addition to its ornamental value, Cassabanana is a wildly versatile edible and ethnomedical plant, with a wealth of healthy benefits. Its cylindrical fruits are eaten fresh or in jams, jellies and other preserves, and can also be cooked as a vegetable or in soup and stews. This plant has been used medicinally as an astringent, diuretic, and to treat fever, bronchitis, and dysentery. The fruit of the Cassabanana vine is rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber, and is known to help regulate metabolism and aid in digestion. Each vine can produce up to 2.5 pounds of fruit in a growing season.
When growing Sicana odorifera in a pot, place in an area of full sun to semi-shade and keep the soil moist throughout the growing season. In colder regions, bring the plant indoors when temperatures drop and place in an area where it will receive plenty of sunlight.
It is a spreading small shrub that ranges in height from two to five feet tall, with sprawling stems. The dark green leaves are small with an aromatic scent, and alternately arranged on the stems.
In full sun, Sida fallax produces a profusion of beautiful, buttercup-like, yellow and orange flowers that bloom all year round and attract local bees, butterflies and many other pollinators. Flowers have five petals and are generally smaller than the diameter of a dime. The plant is well adapted to dry conditions and will thrive without supplemental irrigation, and can even tolerate occasional inundation in the wild. Further, it performs well in seaside conditions and is fairly salt tolerant.
Sida fallax is an ethnomedical plant that is used in a variety of ways by people. The leaves are used for natural medicinal purposes and for making aromatic garlands for ceremonial occasions. It can be found planted in many gardens in tropical and semi-tropical regions of the world. Its home range includes Hawaii, but is also found throughout the Pacific Islands.
In cooler climates, where temperatures dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, Sida fallax may be grown as an annual, or grown in a pot and brought indoors before frost. When grown in USDA Zones 9-11 or indoors, best growth is achieved with deep watering and a fertile soil with added organic nutrients such as compost or manure. In warm regions, where temperatures remain mild year round, Sida fallax should be planted in well-drained soil and watered only sparingly when in dry periods. This plant does well in full sun and will flower profusely in the warm months. If planted in beds, allow ten to twelve inches of unplanted space in all directions from the center of the plant. Mulching around the planted area can also conserve water and keep weeds to a minimum.
A genus of tropical trees noted for their extremely hard wood. Several species have become rare due to logging and other forms of habitat destruction.
Sideroxylon inerme (White Milkwood)is a protected species in South Africa. Three specimens have been proclaimed National Monuments. One of these is situated in Mossel Bay and is called the 'Post Office Tree'. Portuguese soldiers in 1500 tied a shoe containing a letter on the tree, describing the drowning at sea of the famous Bartholomew Dias. This tree is said to be 600 years old. Another renowned specimen is the Treaty Tree in Woodstock, Cape Town. Next to this tree stood a small house where the commander of local defences handed over the Cape to the British in 1806. The third National Monument is a tree called Fingo Milkwood Tree near Peddie in the Eastern Cape. The Fingo people affirmed their loyalty to God and the British king under the tree after English soldiers led them to safety when Chief Hintza and his warriors pursued them.
Bark and roots have medicinal value and are used to cure broken bones, to treat fevers, to dispel bad dreams, and to treat gall sickness in stock. The wood of the White Milkwood is said to very hard and fine-grained and is used as timber for building boats, bridges and mills. Ripe purple-black berries are said to be edible, with purple, juicy flesh and sticky white juice.
In 1973, it was thought that endemic to Mauritius, Sideroxylon grandiflorum (Tambalacoque, Dodo Tree) was dying out. There were supposedly only 13 specimens left, all estimated to be about 300 years old. It was hypothesized that the Dodo, which became extinct in the 17th century, ate tambalacoque fruits, and only by passing through the digestive tract of the Dodo could the seeds germinate. However, further research proved that the situation is not as bad as it seemed. The scientists tried to force-feed Tambalacoque fruit to other animals, such as wild turkeys, and did get some seeds germinated. The Tambalacoque seeds, passed through digestive systems of Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Geochelone gigantea) had pretty good gemination rate, and yet the seedlings appeared to be more vigorous and disease-resistant. To aid the seed in germination, botanists now use turkeys and gem polishers to erode the endocarp to allow germination. Tambalacoque is highly valued for its wood in Mauritius, which has led some foresters to scrape the pits by hand to make them sprout and grow. So the species seems to be out of danger now; besides, young trees are not distinct in appearance and may easily be confused with similar species.