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CASSIA brewsteri

Image of Cassia brewsteri

Tatiana Gerus, Wikimedia Commons Contributor

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

CASSIA brewsteri

Plant Common Name

Brewster's Cassia, Cigar Cassia, Leichardt-bean

General Description

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.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-40' / 1.8m - 12.2m

  • Width

    8'-25' / 2.4m - 7.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter

  • Native To

    Australia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Red, Light Yellow, Salmon

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Corky

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Shade Trees, Street Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes