Tatiana Gerus, Wikimedia Commons Contributor
Plant Common Name
Brewster's Cassia, Cigar Cassia, Leichardt-bean
Feathery green leaves, pendent clusters of yellow and reddish flowers, and long cigar-like seed pods are the chief ornamental qualities of cigar cassia. This plant may be quite variable in form, either growing as a medium to large shrub or becoming an upright tree with a billowy, rounded canopy. Cigar cassia is native to the hills across northeastern Australia, where it usually is evergreen, but chilly winter weather can cause leaf drop.
The compound leaves comprise numerous long oval leaflets of rich green. From summer to fall, drooping branched clusters of flowers appear along the branch tips. Individual flowers have yellow sepals with salmon-red petals, giving a bicolored effect. A slight fragrance wafts from the blossoms. After insect pollination, long seed pods develop, turning from green to dark brown before shedding their golden brown seeds. Cigar cassia trees or shrubs may produce suckering shoots from the surface roots, creating a thicket. In some subtropical regions, this species is considered a pesky weed.
Grow cigar cassia in full sun to partial shade and deep, fertile soil with good drainage. Once established, it is tolerant of drought, light frost and coastal salt spray. An evenly moist, non-alkaline soil is best. A dry winter season is common across its native range. Use cigar cassia as a focal shade or flowering tree or a fine-textured specimen shrub for the mixed border. It is particularly showy where you can walk under the boughs and marvel at the long, pendent flower clusters.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 8
USDA Hardiness Zone
9 - 13
H1, H2, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Full Sun, Partial Sun
6'-40' / 1.8m - 12.2m
8'-25' / 2.4m - 7.6m
Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter
Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Shade Trees, Street Trees, Tropical
Sharp or Has Thorns