Cassia fistula (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

1, branch with inflorescence; 2, flower; 3, mature pod; 4, section of pod showing seeds (Achmad Satiri Nurhaman)

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

  • Babeley, G.S. & Kandya, A.K., 1988. On finding out some suitable pretreatments for Cassia fistula Linn. seeds. Journal of Tropical Forestry 4(2): 147-154.
  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink Jr, R.C., 1963-1968. Flora of Java. 3 volumes. Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. Vol. 1 (1963) 647 pp., Vol. 2 (1965) 641 pp., Vol. 3 (1968) 761 pp.
  • Baruah, A., Sheikh, M.S. & Kalita, J., 1993. An investigation on the ecology of Catopsila pyranthe Linn. (Lepidoptera - Pieridae). Journal of the Assam Science Society 35(1): 23-34.
  • Braza, R.D., 1990. Psyllids on nitrogen fixing trees in the Philippines. Nitrogen Fixing Tree Research Reports 8: 62-63.
  • Brown, W.H., 1951-1957. Useful plants of the Philippines. Reprint of the 1941-1943 edition. 3 volumes. Technical Bulletin 10. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Bureau of Printing, Manila, the Philippines. Vol. 1 (1951) 590 pp., Vol. 2 (1954) 513 pp., Vol. 3 (1957) 507 pp.
  • Corner, E.J.H., 1988. Wayside trees of Malaya. 3rd Edition. 2 volumes. The Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 774 pp.
  • Daulatabad, C.D., Hosamani, K.M. & Alagawadi, K.R., 1987. Epoxy and cyclopropenoid fatty acids in cassia seed oils. Journal of the Oil Technologists' Association of India 19(2): 41-42.
  • de Padua, L.S., Lugod, G.C. & Pancho, J.V., 1977-1983. Handbook on Philippine medicinal plants. 4 volumes. Documentation and Information Section, Office of the Director of Research, University of the Philippines at Los Baños, the Philippines.
  • de Wit, H.C.D., 1956. A revision of the genus Cassia (Caesalp.) as occurring in Malaysia. Webbia 11: 197-292.
  • Ding Hou, Larsen, K. & Larsen, S.S., 1996. Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae Caesalpinioideae). In: Kalkman, C., Kirkup, D.W., Nooteboom, H.P., Stevens, P.F. & de Wilde, W.J.J.O. (Editors): Flora Malesiana. Series 1, Vol. 12(2). Rijksherbarium/Hortus Botanicus, Leiden University, the Netherlands. pp. 409-730.
  • Evans, W.C. (Editor), 1989. Trease and Evans' pharmacognosy. 13th Edition. Baillière Tindall, London, United Kingdom. 832 pp.
  • Farooqi, M.I.H., Kapoor, V.P. & Islam, G., 1978. Seeds of genus Cassia as possible sources of industrial gums. Indian Forester 104(11): 729-733.
  • Heyne, K., 1950. De nuttige planten van Indonesië [The useful plants of Indonesia]. 3rd Edition. 2 volumes. W. van Hoeve, 's Gravenhage, the Netherlands/Bandung, Indonesia. 1660 + CCXLI pp.
  • Irwin, H.S. & Barneby, R.C., 1982. The American Cassiinae. A synoptical revision of Leguminosae tribe Cassieae subtribe Cassiinae in the New World. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 35(2): 64-635.
  • Joshi, K.C., Meshram, P.B., Sambath, S., Kiran, U., Humane, S. & Kharkwal, G.N., 1992. Insect pests of some medicinal plants in Madhya Pradesh. Indian Journal of Forestry 15(1): 17-26.
  • Khanna, K. & Arora, J.S., 1984. Note on propagation of Cassia fistula (amaltas) by cutting and layering. Indian Journal of Horticulture 41(1-2): 137-138.
  • Larsen, K., Larsen, S.S. & Vidal, J.E., 1980. Légumineuses Caesalpinioïdées [Leguminosae Caesalpinioideae]. In: Vidal, J.E. & Vidal, Y. (Editors): Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Viêtnam [Flora of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam]. Vol. 18. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. 227 pp.
  • Letourneux, C., 1957. Tree planting practices in tropical Asia. FAO Forestry Development Paper No 11. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy. 172 pp.
  • Monif, T., Malhotra, A.K. & Kapoor, V.P., 1992. Cassia fistula seed galactomannan: potential binding agent for pharmaceutical formulation. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 54(6): 234-240.
  • Ng, J., 1982. In vitro pollen germination of Cassia fistula L. Gardens' Bulletin, Singapore 34(2): 239-242.
  • Pételot, A., 1952-1954. Les plantes médicinales du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam [The medicinal plants of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam]. 4 volumes. Centre National de Recherches Scientifiques et Techniques, Saigon, Vietnam.
  • Quisumbing, E., 1978. Medicinal plants of the Philippines. Katha Publishing Co., Quezon City, the Philippines. 1262 pp.
  • Samuelsson, G. (Editor), 1992. Drugs of natural origin, a textbook of pharmacognosy. Swedish Pharmaceutical Press, Stockholm, Sweden. 320 pp.
  • Saralamp, P., Temsiririrkkul, R., Chuakul, W., Riewpaiboon, A., Prathanturarug, S., Suthisisang, C. & Pongcharoensuk, P. (Editors), 1996. Medicinal plants in the Siri Ruckhachati Garden. 2nd Edition. Siambooks and Publications Co., Bangkok, Thailand. 263 pp.
  • Shukla, S.C. & Das, S.R., 1988. Cure of amoebiasis by seed powder of Cassia fistula. International Journal of Crude Drug Research 26(3):141-144.
  • Verdcourt, B., 1979. A manual of New Guinea legumes. Botany Bulletin No 11. Office of Forests, Division of Botany, Lae, Papua New Guinea. 645 pp.

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  • Anny Victor Toruan-Purba