Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

CASSIA fistula

Image of Cassia fistula

Forest & Kim Starr

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

CASSIA fistula

Plant Common Name

Golden Shower, Indian Laburnum

General Description

Spectacular in flower, the golden shower tree sheds most of its leaves to highlight the many pendent yellow strings of flowers in spring and summer. Native to southern Asia, it is a semi-deciduous tropical tree that is somewhat slow-growing, attaining an open but broad canopy.

The short trunk has pale smooth to platy bark, while the leaves are bright green and pinnate, having many small leaflets arranged on a petiole leaf stem. The leaves emerge slightly downy and silver in color before greening and thickening. The shedding of oldest foliage occurs just in time for the beginning of flowering in springtime, as drooping strings of lightly fragrant golden to bright yellow buds and flowers decorate the branches. The display of flowers typically culminates around the summer solstice. After insects pollinate the blossoms, long dark brown pods begin to develop, taking a year to fully mature and split to release the many dark salmon-orange seeds that are nestled in a sticky pulp that is delectable to monkeys and birds.

Grow golden shower tree in a fertile, well-draining soil that is not strongly alkaline in full sun. Once established, it has great drought tolerance and can handle protected seaside locations. Ensure the tree has adequate watering and fertilization to attain the best form with its wide-spreading branches. After the spring and early summer flowering, pruning off the spent flowers can result in second blooming in the autumn. In subtropical regions that have a marked cool and dry winter, leaf drop can occur well before the usual springtime drop as the flowers appear.

The heartwood is reddish in color and is very hard and durable, often used for cabinets and construction. This is one of the world’s prettiest flowering trees and is breathtaking when used as a lawn specimen, lining a street or in a public park where it is sure to attract attention and smiles.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 13, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    30'-60' / 9.1m - 18.3m

  • Width

    20'-40' / 6.1m - 12.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Asia, India

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Gold

  • Fruit Color

    Dark Salmon, Sienna, Chocolate

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Gray, Slate Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes