Scientific: Senna didymobotrya (formerly Cassis 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, aromatic gardens

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

Growth Habit: Mostly herbaceous tender evergreen, moderate fast grower to 5 to 10 feet tall in Phoenix with somewhat less spread.

Foliage/texture: Leaves are highly fragrant (smell like burnt movie theatre popcorn), medium green, pinnately compound to 2 feet long, individual leaflets 1 inch in length, 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 a unsightly, flattened brown pod to 5 inches long late Spring to 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.

Light: Full 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 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.