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CASSIA phyllodinia

Image of Cassia phyllodinia

Audrey, Eve and George DeLange

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

CASSIA phyllodinia

Plant Common Name

Silver Cassia

General Description

Silvery blue-green foliage and yellow buttercup-shaped flowers that appear in late winter are best ornamental features of the silver cassia. This fast-growing evergreen shrub is native to arid central Australia. It is exceptionally tolerant of dry soil, heat, frosts and hot sunlight. It looks like an acacia, but the five-petaled flowers reveal its inclusion in the genus Cassia. Silver cassia attains a wispy-looking rounded to upright, v-shaped habit.

To conserve moisture in its hot, arid native habitat, silver cassia's foliage is made up of flattened, enlarged stems called phyllodes. They look like narrow, sickle-shaped leaves. Any time from midwinter into early summer, depending on climate, branch tips bear clusters of yellow blossoms among the foliage. Bees and butterflies are pollinators, resulting in later formation of flattened seed pods that persist on the shrub for months.

Grow silver cassia in as much direct sunlight as possible. Too much shade leads to leggy branches. It excels in any well-drained soil on the dry side with occasionally water during the long, hot summer months. Overwatering causes the phyllodes to become yellowish. This shrub is exceptional in arid gardens or non-irrigated landscapes. It tolerates reflected heat and light near concrete surfaces. Use it in a mixed border, intensely hot foundation bed or to vegetate parking lot medians and edges. Conduct any pruning by mid-spring to keep the plant looking evenly rounded and tidy.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Width

    5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Australia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • 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)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Silver

  • Bark Color

    Gray, Silver

  • 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

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Foundation, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes