Senna alata (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Senna alata (L.) Roxb.

Protologue: Fl. ind., ed. 2, 2: 349 (1832).


  • Cassia alata L. (1753).

Vernacular names

  • Ringworm bush, seven golden candlesticks (En).
  • Dartrier (Fr).
  • Brunei: raun suluk (Dusun), paa-ul, tarump (Malay)
  • Indonesia: daun kupang, ketepeng (Malay, Manado), ketepeng kebo (Javanese)
  • Malaysia: daun kurap, gelenggang, ludanggan (Peninsular)
  • Papua New Guinea: kabaiura (Harigen, Sepik), levoanna (Gaire and Tubusereia, Central Province), Orere (Awala, Northern Province)
  • Philippines: andadasi (Iloko), katanda (Tagalog), palochina (Bisaya)
  • Cambodia: dang het, dang het khmoch
  • Laos: khi let ban
  • Thailand: kheekhaak (northern), chumhet thet (central, peninsular), chumhet yai (central)
  • Vietnam: muồng lác, muồng trâu.


Native to South America, now pantropical; abundantly naturalized in South-East Asia, and occasionally planted throughout the region for medicinal and ornamental purposes.


S. alata is used against ringworm and various other skin diseases, such as scabies. Ringworm is treated by externally applying the leaves, which might be pounded first, the sap of the leaves, the roots, or the pods. S. alata is also used as a laxative or purgative. For laxative purposes, a decoction of the leaves, the flowers, the roots or the wood may be used. In India, the leaves are taken as a purgative, while leaf decoctions are used as an expectorant in bronchitis and dyspnea, as an astringent, a mouthwash and a wash in cases of eczema. S. alata is sometimes a weed in pastures; it is not eaten by livestock and sometimes even reported to be poisonous.


  • A shrub, 1-2(-5) m tall, with thick branches, pubescent.
  • Leaves with 8-20 pairs of leaflets, petiole 2-3 cm long, rachis 30-60 cm long, leaflets oblong-elliptical, 5-15 cm × 3-7 cm, obtuse at the ends, glabrous.
  • Inflorescence an axillary raceme, robust, dense, 20-50 cm long, many-flowered.
  • Flowers with oblong sepals, 10-20 mm × 6-7 mm, orange-yellow, petals ovate-orbicular, 16-24 mm × 10-15 mm, bright yellow, 2 large stamens with stout filaments 4 mm long and anthers 12-13 mm long, 4 small stamens with filaments 2 mm long and anthers 4-5 mm long, 3-4 staminodes, ovary puberulous, sessile, with many (up to 58) ovules, style filiform, stigma small.
  • Fruit tetragonal, 10-15 cm × 1.5-8 cm, winged, wings 4-8 mm, black, glabrous, up to 50-seeded.
  • Seeds quadrangular, flattened, 7-8 mm × 5-8 mm, shiny.

S. alata occurs up to 2100 m altitude in New Guinea but is most abundant below 500 m altitude. It has a wide ecological amplitude, but prefers rather open, not too dry habitats.

Selected sources

97, 190, 202, 287, 295, 308, 336, 350, 357, 364, 402, 409, 522, 553, 580, 597, 653, 817, 829, 1035, 1105, 1126, 1128, 1178, 1220, 1277, 1287, 1520.


Anny Victor Toruan-Purba