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CASSIA javanica

Image of Cassia javanica

Forest & Kim Starr

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

CASSIA javanica

Plant Common Name

Appleblossom Cassia, Javanese Cassia, Pink and White Shower Tree

General Description

With a spreading, irregular, tiered habit, the appleblossom cassia is covered with variably pink flowers in the warmest months of the tropical dry season. This Indonesian tree is very briefly deciduous just prior to or during the flowering display in springtime. The trunk's bark is smooth and gray, but occasional spines or woody spurs line the trunk or lower parts of branches.

Newly emerging leaves are downy, but turn matte green with age. Each leaf is compound, comprising 5 to nearly 30 oval leaflets. The foliage flops and dangles in the breeze, making the appleblossom cassia look frothy and elegant. The flowers occur anywhere along the sunlit branches. Blossoms most heavily occur in the spring or summer months, when temperatures are warm and the brunt of the rainy season hasn't started. The five-petaled flowers are deeper rosy pink when they first open but fade to palest pink, creating a variegated color palette in the clusters. After insect pollination, only a few flowers produce long, dangling, brownish-black seed pods that hang for many months.

Grow appleblossom cassia in full to partial sun for the best flower displays. Moderately fertile soil will suffice, but it should be moist and well-drained. The tree is slightly tolerant of saltspray and drought. A spectacular specimen flowering tree that doubles as a park shade tree, ample space is needed to accommodate the long, arching, spreading limbs. The precise timing of flowering varies among trees, as some regularly bloom in spring while others may not bloom until early summer. Some branches may burst into flower at odd times while the bulk of the tree is just leafy green.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    30'-40' / 9.1m - 12.2m

  • Width

    25'-50' / 7.6m - 15.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink, Light Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Chocolate, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No