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Senna gaudichaudii
Alternative Botanical Names
Cassia gaudichaudii
Cassia glanduligera
Psilorhegma gaudichaudii
Senna glanduligera

Common Names
Potential or Traditional Uses
Lei (Flower or Seed)
Photo not available
Senna gaudichaudii is a small shrub ranging in size from 2 to 10 feet. The new growth is covered with soft, yellow hairs. The 4 inch long leaves are composed of 4 or 5 (occasionally 6) pairs of oblong leaflets which are arranged opposite each other. The green leaflets range in length from 3/4 to 2 1/2 inches long and are waxy and paler on the underside.

The flowers of Senna gaudichaudii range in color from greenish white to greenish yellow to pale yellow sometimes with a reddish tinge. They occur in short clusters up to 4 inches long which grow out of the leaf bases. (Wagner 1990)

Habitat and Geographic Range
Senna gaudichaudii is indigenous to Hawai'i and other islands throughout the Pacific. According to Wagner et al, there is probably only one Senna species indigenous to all the Pacific Islands. In Hawai'i, Senna gaudichaudii is found in dry, leeward locations including rocky slopes, lava flows, and disturbed sites on all the main islands except Ni'ihau and Kaho'olawe. It grows at elevations ranging from almost sea level to 3,000 feet. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The papery pods of Senna gaudichaudii hang downwards. The pods are up to 5 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. The small, oval seeds are contained crosswise in the pod and the pod is compressed between the seeds. The seeds are dark reddish brown and 1/4 to 3/8 inch long. Seeds are often damaged by insects and only intact seeds should be used for propagation.

Lilleeng-Rosenberger (1998) recommends scarifying the seeds and then soaking them. Scarification (penetration of the seed coat) can be done using a clippers, file or sandpaper, or by cracking the seeds with a hammer being careful not to damage the end where the seed will sprout. The survey respondents in Stratton et al's report recommend scarifying the seed and soaking them in 120 degree F water for up to 24 hours. Healthy seeds will absorb water and sink; discard seeds that float.

Plant the seeds of Senna gaudichaudii in shallow containers in a very well drained medium. Recommended media include mixtures of either 3 parts #2 perlite to 1 part Sunshine Mix #4, or 1 part peat to 1 part perlite. Keep the medium moist and the containers in a covered area to help control soil moisture and eliminate rain damage. The seeds can be germinated in full sun if soil moisture can be maintained.

Germination times are variable ranging from 5 days to 2 months even with scarification and soaking pre-treatments. Lilleeng-Rosenberger's notes (1996) show germination times of 5 to 7 days for scarified fresh seed. With these batches of seed, she obtained germination rates of 70 to 80%.

Using a potting mix of 2 parts soil to 1 part screened peat moss to 1 part sand, Wooliams obtained a 15% germination rate for untreated seed. He increased this percentage to 21% for seeds stored at ambient temperatures for 15 months by using a few minutes of hot water treatment where the water temperature was just below boiling.

Store seeds of Senna gaudichaudii by air drying them after they have been removed from their pods. Put the seeds in a paper bag or envelope inside an airtight container with desiccant and keep them in a cool location at 25% relative humidity. (Lilleeng-Rosenberger 1996; Lilleeng-Rosenberger 1998; Stratton 1998; Wagner 1990; Wooliams 1972)

Propagation by Cuttings
No information located to date.
Propagation by Division
Not applicable.
Propagation by Air Layers
No information located to date.
Propagation by Grafting
No information located to date.
Propagation by Tissue Culture
No information located to date.
Lilleeng-Rosenberger, Kerin. 1996. Plant propagation notebook. Unpublished materials: National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Lilleeng-Rosenberger, Kerin. 1998. Propagation techniques for native Hawaiian plants. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 37 (2):33-35.

Stratton, Lisa, Leslie Hudson, Nova Suenaga, and Barrie Morgan. 1998. Overview of Hawaiian dry forest propagation techniques. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 37 (2):13, 15-27.

Wagner, Warren L., Darrel R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i. 2 vols., Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press. p. 699-700.

Wooliams, Keith. 1972. Propagation of endangered tropical plants. The Bulletin of the Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden 2 (1):17-20.

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The image in this record is used with permission from Dr. Gerald Carr's Web site "Hawaiian Native Plants" at

Last updated:
17 September 2001

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