Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Cassia alata (Candle Bush)
They are both a nectar source and larval host plant for Sulphur butterflies. Interestingly, caterpillars that feed on the leaves of the plant will be green, and those that feed on the flowers will be yellow.
This plant is recommended for USDA Zones 8-11. In tropical climates, Cassia alata becomes tree-like, reaching heights of 12 foot or more. In subtropical areas that experience occasional light freezes, the plant is more shrubby. During years with hard freezes, the plant behaves more like a perennial, regenerating quickly from the roots and blooming by late summer. In colder climates with a long-enough growing season, Cassia alata can even be grown as an annual for a fall bloom. Flowers will start forming when the plant is about 4 foot tall so it will bloom well in containers. Trimming branch tips back in the spring will cause further branching and more blooms. The large, pinnate leaves are also an attractive feature.
In traditional medicines, the leaves or sap are used to treat fungal infections. The boiled leaves are a remedy for high blood pressure in Africa, while in South America it is a remedy for snakebite and venereal disease. Clearly this is a plant no one can do without!
Disclaimer: No medical claims are being made here. This is for informational purposes only.
Buy seeds of Cassia alata!