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CASSIA leptophylla

Image of Cassia leptophylla

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

CASSIA leptophylla

Plant Common Name

Gold Medallion Tree

General Description

Brilliantly attractive in form and when its cheerful yellow flower clusters appear in the summer, gold medallion tree is one of the most magnificent small tropical trees. An evergreen small tree from southeastern Brazil, its spreading but elegantly rounded canopy is lined with medium to deep green leaves that have eight to twelve pairs of small oval leaflets. Large clusters of sunny yellow flowers appear most heavily in the summertime, continuing for many weeks. The blossoms occur on semi-weeping branch tips and are arranged in a radial cluster with a flattened, flowerless center, making it resemble a gold ring or medallion. The blooms are followed by rusty-brown, flat pods that some gardeners consider attractive (and others find offensive). Plants may rebloom lightly if they receive occasional water. Chilly or dry winters and early springs can cause partial leaf drop.

The sun-loving gold medallion tree thrives in well-drained soil that is moist in the growing season. Demonstrating good heat and drought tolerance, it can be grown in both subtropical arid locales and more rainy, humid tropical regions. Its airy, feathery foliage contrasts beautifully with masonry, boulders, and other "hard" landscape features. It thrives in parking lots and medians where reflected heat can be intense. Often the plant is clipped after flowering to prevent seed pod formation, but this can spoil the graceful open habit. This rounded but spreading canopied tree is popular for shade and flowering beauty for yard and park as well as to add beauty to boulevards. Consider training the tree when young to have a strong central leader trunk to ensure the finest form as it ages.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 14

  • Sunset Zone

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

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-25' / 6.1m - 7.6m

  • Width

    25'-30' / 7.6m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray, Silver

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • 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

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No