|Uses||Shrub, Flowering Tree|
|Scientific Name||Cassia bicapsularis|
|Cold Hardiness||Moderate, freezes at 30 Degrees, will come back|
|Light Needs||Preferes Full Sun|
|Flower Color||Yellow, has curved anthers|
|Blooms||Spring and Fall|
|Mature Height||10-15 Feet|
Cassia is a large genus made up of hundreds of species. A common variety grown in Orlando and all Central Florida, frequently called “Golden Shower” or “Golden Chain” Cassia, is generally agreed to be among the most prized because of its stunning display of seasonal color.
Cassia is a mid-sized ornamental tree, quickly growing 30 to 40 feet tall with an equal spread. The canopy is open, oval, vase-shaped or irregular, depending on early pruning. The foliage is light to medium-green and composed of small oval leaves arranged alternately on slender stems to create a delicate, lacy look that filters sunlight on lawns or gardens below. Cassia is a tropical native popular in Orlando and throughout Florida because of its predictable flowering schedule. Many or most of the leaves may drop just before the Cassia bursts into triumphant bloom in late spring to early summer. The effusive, sunny yellow flowers have five petals and, wisteria-like, appear in showy clusters up to 12 inches long. Foliage quickly returns after blooming, and the Cassia may have a second, slightly less flamboyant flowering in late summer to early fall without leaf drop. The seedpods are long and narrow, purple to black in color.
A fast growing tree, Cassia is well adapted to all well-drained soils and does best in full sun. It is moderately salt and drought tolerant. Since heavy branches tend to droop, selective pruning of young trees may be necessary to establish a strong central trunk. Cassia can be damaged by temperatures that drop below 30 degrees, but it returns without lasting damage when warmer weather arrives. Lifting roots are not a problem, making Cassia suitable for sidewalk planting. Although it is generally untroubled by pests, the Cassia’s popularity with butterflies means that it is occasionally bothered by caterpillars.
Many Florida communities have used Cassia successfully in street plantings with stunning results. This blooming showpiece is sure to brighten any Tampa home or business. Plant it on parkways or in front lawns as a striking specimen tree or landscape element. When space allows, the predictable flowering schedule of the Cassia makes trees planted in rows or groups particularly striking.