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Time to pick the seeds of Cassia!

May 6, 2010

Gardeners who want to grow Cassia should pick the seed pods now. It takes about one year for the seeds to mature, so the pods you collect now are the result of last year’s blossom. To open a pod, I usually use a stone that fits your fist nicely. It should have a broad flat bottom. Gently beat the pod. It will crack open, and inside you will find flat, greenish, button-like structures stacked on top of each other. These have to be opened using the stone, and inside you will see a small, glossy, light brown seed the size of a wheat grain.

How do you identify the different pods of the most common Cassia species in Chiang Mai? Cassia fistula, the Golden shower, has long, smooth, black pods which smell like tamarind. Cassia bakeriana, the Pink shower, has long, velvety, grey pods which smell bad. Cassia javanica, the Javanese shower, has short, smooth, black pods which smell like bad tamarind. The walls of the seed compartments of C. javanica and C. bakeriana are clearly seen from the outside as striations, while in C. fistula the striations are not easily seen. It is best to collect the pods from the tree, as pods on the ground may have been attacked by insects. For most tropical plants, it is wise to sow the seeds immediately, or they may deteriorate. In the past, these pods were used medicinally as laxatives.

Eric Danell

Seed pods of Cassia fistula (top), C. bakeriana (middle) and C. javanica (bottom). A small light brown seed of C. javanica is seen near the apex of the C. javanica pod. At Dokmai Garden’s sales nursery, we keep the rare C. agnes, C. bakeriana and C. javanica.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert Bobson permalink
    March 7, 2012 10:21 PM

    would you have access to cassia bakeriana seed? I would like to purchase 1000 seeds. You can reply to robertbobson@bellsouth.net

    thank you

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