Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Black-wood cassia, ironwood

+ Tree Species

Senna siamea (Cassia siamea)

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Black-wood cassia is native to South and Southeast Asia, although its exact origin is unknown. It's a small tree cultivated all over the tropics from sub-humid to semi-arid and even arid zones, 0-1,600 m. It prefers a high water table but will tolerate extended drought and a variety of soils. In Uganda, it is widely planted in dry areas in most parts of the country. In Kampala, Black-wood cassia can be found along Acacia avenue, Elgon terrace, within Uganda Golf course club, Makerere University among other places.

+ Description

An evergreen tree to 20 m, often shrub like. It has a dense, round, evergreen crown and a short bole.

BARK: smooth, pale grey-brown. 

LEAVES: compound, stalk to 30 cm, grooved, leaflets oblong, 4-16 pairs, round at base and tip which may be notched, dark, shiny, green above.

FLOWERS: pale yellow in dense heads, each flower about 3 cm across.

FRUIT: pods, in dense clusters, flat yellow-brown and smooth, slightly curved, indented across, about 20 seeds within


+ Uses

The tree is grown to provide shade along roads, and compounds.

Agroforestry: used as a fodder plant, in intercropping systems, windbreaks, and shelter belts, provides shade in cocoa, coffee and tea plantations, can be pruned into hedgerows and used as a live fence around food crops.

All parts of the plant can be used for tanning.

Edible: young fruits and leaves are eaten as a vegetable, flowers and young fruits are used in curries. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Senna+siamea

Medicine: the fruit, heartwood. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Senna+siamea

The wood has also been used for poles, posts, bridges, mine poles and beams.

Provides firewood and be used to make charcoal.

Source of timber (furniture).

An ornamental for its abundant yellow flowers.

+ Propagation

Seed, wildings.

+ Management

Fast growing; lopping, coppicing.

+ Remarks

The species is not browsed so it is easily established. Should not be mixed with crops as it competes with them. Susceptible to mildew attacks on the leaves. While it conserves the soil, in Uganda it has proven a greedy feeder.

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