Forest EcologyGeneral SilviculturePlant Taxonomy

Cassia fistula Linn.

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Cassia fistula Linn. Family


Cassia fistula Linn. English Name

Indian Laburum, Golden Shower

Cassia fistula Linn. Local Name


Cassia fistula Linn.

Cassia fistula Linn. Description

A medium sized deciduous to semi-evergreen tree, with an open crown. The tree may never appear to be entirely leafless. At maturity, height of the tree will range from 5 to 9 m and have a diameter of 0.5 to 1.5 m. Leaves are compound and are divided into between 4 and 6 pairs of larger (12 by 6cm) oval shaped leaflets. The leaflets are leathery, long pointed and stalked. The bark is greenish grey on young trees, changing to a reddish brown with age. On old trees the bark peels off in hard scales. The flowers which are bright yellow and appear around April and May. They form in large, hanging, pointed bunches and are arranged along a central axis. The fruit is a long pod (2 to 3 cm in diameter and 30 or more cm long). Usually smooth, hard and dark brown when ripe; they mature between September and February. The pods break open easily to expose the seed. It is easily reproduced from seed and by vegetative means. The seed can be stored for 2 years and retain its viability. Approximate yields of 10 to 12 m3/ha/yr have been recorded. Average diameter for growth is 0.5 cm. Straight grain with medium texture. Sapwood yellowish red to reddish brown, having Density 0.8 gm/cm3 dry with a calorific value of 5164 kcal/kg.

Cassia fistula Linn.

Cassia fistula Linn. Distribution

The tree is native to Pakistan, commonly found east of the Indus in the plains and continuing north into the Himalayas to an elevation of approximately 1200 meters. It is cultivated throughout the plain region as an avenue tree. A moderately shade tolerant tree that will grow on many soil types including low nutrient and shallow soils. It is found in a sub-humid cool to sub-tropical humid warm tropical climate receiving between 500 to 3000 mm of annual precipitation. Its temperature range is from -5 to 45°C, even though both seedlings and trees are susceptible to some frost damage.

Cassia fistula Linn.

Cassia fistula Linn. Uses

The tree is not grazed by animals, and it has no disease or insect problems of significance. It has potential in areas where watershed protection is needed, and grazing has been a problem. Also used as fuel, ornamental, fine furniture, agricultural implements, tool handles, support posts, cartwheels and axles, tannin. and medicinal (seed pod pulp as a purgative).

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