Senna hebecarpa - Wild Senna
Senna hebecarpa syn. Cassia hebecarpa
This is a stunning plant in bloom and has attractive foliage. It is popular for meadow plantings and in native landscape gardens. Garlands of yellow flowers bloom from July to August. They are followed by dark brown seedpods that split open explosively. Wild Senna provides nectar for pollinators and cover for wildlife. In the Northeast U.S. wild senna is state listed as threatened or endangered due primarily to habitat loss
Wild Senna is found in moist meadows and pastures from Ontario and Maine south and west to Tennessee and Georgia and north to Wisconsin and Michigan.
Map Credit: The Biota of North America
Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)
The seed of this plant is eaten by some game birds, including quail. The flowers are primarily attractive to bees. The extra-floral nectaries are attractive to ants, and other insects including ladybird beetles. It’s thought that these insects protect the plant from other insects that would attack the foliage.
Legumes are beneficial for their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, thanks to a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria known as rhizobia. These plants help replenish soil with nitrogen, leading to stronger growth for other plants.
Wild senna should be grown in soil that has good drainage in either a sunny or partly shaded location. This plant grows naturally in damp, fertile soils and under these conditions, a height of 7 feet can be attained. In drier soil the plant will grow to about 3 feet and tend to be less floppy.