These pests are springing up all over Paradise Ridge. It literally grows like topsy - six months ago the seed germinated, now they are mature plants, standing a meter high, in full bloom and laden with seedpods. It is a very attractive plant, water wise and pest free, but please don't be tempted to retain it in your garden. They are extremely invasive and toxic to humans and animals.
Peanut butter cassia
Senna didymobotrya (Fabaceae)
Alternative common names:
Oatmeal cassia, popcorn senna, wild senna (English); grondboontjiebotterkassia (Afrikaans); munwahuku (Shona)
An evergreen, rounded shrub or small tree reaching up to 3m high. The young shoots are softly downy and 5cm long. Bright yellow flowers form in upright racemes. Green seed pods are downy, soft and flattened and turn dark brown. This senna has poisonous leaves.
Where does this species come from?
What is its invasive status in South Africa?
CARA 2002 – Category 1 NEMBA – a. 1b in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpop, Mpumalanga and Western Cape. b. Not listed elsewhere.
Where in South Africa is it a problem?
KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Eastern Cape
How does it spread?
Why is it a problem?
- Environmental and other impactsSenna didymobotrya is capable of forming dense impenetrable thickets that impede the growth and regeneration of native plants and affects the movement of wildlife. It invades grasslands, woodlands, forests, riparian zones (banks of watercourses) and coastal scrub. S. didymobotria can be termed a “bush encroacher”, a African species that has become invasive. Such plants are likely to exist in a stable balance under natural conditions. However, under human-induced changes such as overgrazing, such species can increase in density to the detriment of other vegetation.
What does it look like?
General description: A wide-spreading evergreen shrub to small tree growing up to 3m in height. Leaves: Dark green leaves with 8-21 pairs of leaflets in opposite pairs 2-5cm long. Flowers: Bright yellow flowers in upright racemes prevalent throughout the year. Fruit/seeds: Green pods turning dark brown that are softly downy and flattened