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Senna spectabilis

19th January, 2024 Environment

Senna spectabilis

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  • Invasive species Senna spectabilis (Calceolaria shower) has been removed from over 356 hectares in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.

Senna spectabilis

Common Names:

  • Senna spectabilis is commonly known as Cassia excelsa, Cassia fastigiata, or Cassia multijuga. It is also referred to as "cassia" or "golden wonder tree."


  • Senna spectabilis is a deciduous tree, reaching heights of 10 to 15 meters.
  • Its compound leaves are pinnate, with several pairs of leaflets.
  • During the flowering season, the tree produces vibrant clusters of yellow flowers, making it visually appealing.


  • America - Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela.


  • Dryland forest in northeast Brazil, most commonly in open formations, favouring deep, well-drained, fertile soils.
  • Moist and seasonally dry forests including pine and coastal forest, disturbed or secondary woodland and savannah.


Senna spectabilis an Invasive species

Ecological Impact:

  • The extensive foliage impedes the growth of other indigenous tree and grass species.
  • Hinders germination and growth of native species, posing a threat to biodiversity.


Edible Uses

  • None known


  • The plant has been used to treat ringworm and skin diseases.
  • A leaf extract in alcohol has shown significant antifungal activity and suggests a potential use in infections caused by Candida albicans.
  • Phytochemical studies isolated a new piperidine alkaloid (3-O-feruloylcassine and known spectaline and 3-O-acetylspectaline
  • which showed moderate antioxidant activities and marginal COX-2 inhibition.
  • A study showed aqueous extracts of the plant to be effective against food-borne pathogen Cereus.

Agroforestry Uses:

  • The plant can be grown for shade and as a boundary market.
  • Leaves can be used as mulch.

Other Uses

  • The heartwood is brown; the sapwood is whitish. The wood is moderately heavy, soft to hard, slightly compact, moderately
  • durable if kept dry and resistant to the attacks of termites. Because of its small dimensions, it is only used for small implements, tool handles, boxes etc.
  • The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal.

Invasive Species


Invasive species are organisms introduced into an environment where they are not native, causing ecological or economic harm.

Impact on Biodiversity:

Invasives can lead to extinctions of native plants and animals, reducing overall biodiversity.

They outcompete native species for resources, altering ecosystems.

Introduction Mechanisms:

Introduced through various means:

Ship Ballast Water: Species transported in ship ballast water can be released in new environments.

Accidental Release: Unintentional release, often associated with trade and transport.

Human Activities: Deliberate introduction for agriculture, horticulture, or as pets.

Examples in India:

Charru Mussel: Invasive freshwater mussel affecting water bodies.

Lantana bushes: Invasive plant species impacting native vegetation.

Indian Bullfrog: Exotic amphibian species competing with native frogs.

Ecological and Economic Consequences:

Invasive species can lead to habitat degradation, loss of native species, and disruption of ecosystem services.

Economic impacts include damage to agriculture, fisheries, and infrastructure.

Management and Control:

Strategies involve early detection, monitoring, and eradication efforts.

Biocontrol methods using natural predators or pathogens may be employed.

Prevention through strict regulations on trade and transportation.

Global Perspective:

Invasive species are a global concern, with significant efforts focused on prevention and control.

International collaborations address invasive threats to biodiversity.

IUCN and Red List:

Some invasive species are assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and may be categorized based on their impact.

Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary

Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary, now known as the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, is one of the significant protected areas in southern India. It is situated in the Erode District of Tamil Nadu, spanning into the Chamarajanagar District of Karnataka and the Malappuram District of Kerala. Below are key details about the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve:

Establishment and Recognition:

  • The Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 2011.
  • It is now officially known as the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR).
  • It is part of the larger Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, recognized by UNESCO for its rich biodiversity.

Geographical Extent:

  • The tiger reserve covers an extensive area, incorporating parts of the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats.
  • The reserve encompasses diverse ecosystems, including dry deciduous forests, thorn forests, and moist deciduous forests.

Flora and Fauna:

  • Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve is known for its high biodiversity and is home to a wide range of flora and fauna.
  • The forested area includes species like teak, sandalwood, rosewood, and various medicinal plants.
  • The reserve is known for its population of tigers, elephants, leopards, Indian gaurs, sambar deer, and numerous bird species.


  • The reserve plays a crucial role in connecting the Western Ghats with the Eastern Ghats, providing a vital corridor for the movement of wildlife.
  • It facilitates genetic exchange between various populations, contributing to the long-term survival of species.

Conservation Initiatives:

  • Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve is actively involved in conservation efforts, including anti-poaching measures and habitat preservation.
  • Community-based conservation programs aim to involve local communities in sustainable resource management and wildlife protection.


Question: Consider the following statements about Senna spectabilis:

  1. Senna spectabilis is commonly recognized as Calceolaria shower and is also referred to as the "golden wonder tree."
  2. It is a deciduous tree with pinnate compound leaves, featuring several pairs of leaflets.
  3. The plant is native to South America, including countries such as Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela.
  4. Senna spectabilis has been categorized as an invasive species, impacting biodiversity by hindering the growth of indigenous tree and grass species.

Which of the statements above are correct?

A. 1 and 2 only

B. 2 and 3 only

C. 1, 3, and 4 only

D. 1, 2, 3, and 4

Answer: C. 1, 3, and 4 only


  1. Correct: Senna spectabilis is commonly known as Cassia excelsa, Cassia fastigiata, or Cassia multijuga, and it is also referred to as "cassia" or the "golden wonder tree."
  2. Incorrect: The compound leaves of Senna spectabilis are pinnate, but the statement incorrectly mentions "several pairs of leaflets."
  3. Correct: The plant is native to South America, including Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela.
  4. Correct: Senna spectabilis is categorized as an invasive species, and its extensive foliage impedes the growth of other indigenous tree and grass species, posing a threat to biodiversity.