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Scientific: Senna didymobotrya (formerly Cassia didymobotrya)
Common: popcorn senna, African senna, peanut butter senna, candelabra tree
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Origin: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

Invasive alert: Popcorn senna is recognized as invasive in Hawaii, Australia and Mexico.

Pronounciation: SIN-na da-dye-mo-bo-TRY-a

Hardiness zones
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Informal large accent plant, tropical gardens, oasis effect, sensory gardens.

Form & Character: Upright and very open, tender, free spirited to awkward, tropical, warm and festive.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, mostly herbaceous, broadleaf perennial shrub, moderate fast grower to 5- to 10-feet tall in Phoenix with a somewhat greater or lesser spread.

Foliage/Texture: Leaves pinnately compound to 18-inches long, medium green, highly fragrant (smells like burnt movie theatre popcorn), individual leaflets 1-inch long, stems coarsely pubescent; overall medium coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Terminal racemes (occassionally axillary) of yellow pea flowers in late winter to early spring at same time as other Senna species, but not fragrant; fruits are unsightly, flattened, pods, 5-inches long, green ripening to brown during late spring and summer.

Seasonal Color: Yellow flowers in winter to early spring.

Temperature: Frost and freeze sensitive (will only grow in coastal California, lower deserts of California and Arizona and Florida), but endures the Phoenix summer heat provided plants are well irrigated and protected from the western sun.

Light: Full sun, except no afternoon western summer sun.

Soil: Well-drained soils with good amounts of amended organic matter are best.

Watering: Needs supplemental regular in Phoenix for best vigor.

Pruning: Prune as necessary (and it will be because popcorn senna's growth is not symmetrical) only after flowering, severe renewal pruning after flowering will rejuvenate, but like other Senna taxa make sure to leave some foliage.

Propagation: Seed, mechanical or acid scarification of seed coat is required.

Disease and Pests: Root rot if soil is poorly drained.

Additional comments: This is a quirky, free-spirited, tropical-looking senna that is seldom seen in Phoenix landscapes.