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Cassia, Round-leaf
(Chamaecrista rotundifolia
formerly Cassia rotundifolia)

Cassia - illustration  

 

  • for free-draining infertile soils in tropics and subtropics
  • very fast establishment
  • early flowering
  • very heavy seeding
  • not very palatable
  • good nitrogen fixation.

Chamaecrista rotundifolia (Persoon) Greene - flowering and fruiting branches.

 

Round-leaf cassia cv. Wynn will naturalise and spread quickly after being planted at low seed rates. It is best planted on free-draining soils as it cannot tolerate heavy soils or waterlogging. Although originally recommended as a short-lived perennial for the tropics and subtropics with 800-1200 mm of rainfall, it is now finding a place as a self-regenerating annual in drier districts (to 600 mm) in north Queensland.

The seed germinates and establishes very quickly, and will grow into a plant 30 cm across while stylos are still small seedlings. Wynn is early-flowering and can flower at any (warm) time of the year, subsequently dropping copious amounts of seed. Although cassia seed is said to be hard, there is massive seedling regeneration with rain. Cassia leaf is cut by frost, but the plant resprouts from surviving buds when warm conditions return.

Wynn cassia does not seem to be very palatable, growing erect to 40 cm, and frequently is not eaten until autumn in higher rainfall districts. In drier districts, the plant is eaten throughout the summer, forming a more drought-tolerant rosette form of growth.

Although relatively unpalatable, Wynn is free from any anti-growth factors and will put good condition and weight gains on cattle. Despite the plant being apparently rejected by cattle, masses of seeds can be found in dung pats.

However, Wynn cassia is not recommended for fertile soils in higher rainfall districts as it tends to dominate grasses when it is not grazed.

Wynn cassia does not suffer from any serious leaf disease or insect attack, and makes a useful contribution to pasture and cattle growth when added to a mixture of legumes, such as stylos, siratro or lotononis

Creator: Ian Partridge
Date created: 03 April 1998  Revised: 06 January 2006
 

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