Cassia fistula (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Cassia fistula L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. 1: 377 (1753).

Vernacular names

  • Golden shower, Indian laburnum (En).
  • Caneficier (Fr)
  • Indonesia: trengguli (Javanese), bobondelan (Sundanese), klobop (Madurese)
  • Malaysia: bereksa, tengguli, rajah kayu
  • Philippines: fistula (Tagalog, Cebu Bisaya), kana-pistula (Tagalog), bitsula (Cebu Bisaya)
  • Cambodia: reach, reach speu, reach chhpoeus
  • Laos: khoun (general)
  • Thailand: khuun (central, northern), lom laeng (northern), ratchaphruek (central)
  • Vietnam: cây bò cạp nước, muồng hoàng yến.


Widespread in the tropics; in Java often cultivated as an ornamental, in the Philippines planted as a medicinal or ornamental plant, cultivated throughout New Guinea.


Since ancient times C. fistula has been used as a laxative throughout the tropics. In Papua New Guinea, Central Province, broken bones and tropical ulcers are bandaged with bark scrapings and leaf sap. In Thailand, the heartwood is traditionally applied as an anthelmintic. The wood is occasionally used e.g. for posts, carts and agricultural implements. The bark is used for tanning and as an ingredient in betel paste.


  • A small to medium-sized tree, 10-15 m tall or sometimes more, deciduous or semi-deciduous, branches spreading, young twigs glabrous.
  • Leaves with 3-7 pairs of leaflets, petiole 5-8 cm long, terete, leaflets ovate-oblong, 7-12 cm × 4-8 cm, subcoriaceous, base broadly cuneate, apex acute, with shiny upper surface, glabrous when mature.
  • Inflorescence an axillary, pendulous, lax raceme, 20-40(-60) cm long, many-flowered.
  • Flowers fragrant, sepals 7-10 mm long, petals broadly ovate, golden-yellow, stamens 10, 3 long with filaments 3-4 cm long, 4 shorter with filaments 6-10 mm long, 3 reduced with filaments 3-4 mm long and minute anthers.
  • Fruit pendent, terete, 20-60 cm long, 1.5-2 cm in diameter, black, glabrous, indehiscent.
  • Seeds numerous, separated by papery septa and embedded in black, glutinous pulp.

C. fistula occurs in open forest and grassland at lower altitudes.

Selected sources

91, 97, 133, 181, 190, 284, 319, 332, 336, 357, 402, 409, 580, 653, 692, 726, 817, 846, 973, 1023, 1128, 1178, 1277, 1287, 1343, 1520.


Anny Victor Toruan-Purba