Coffee Senna
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Coffee Senna
aturalized Photo: Shaista Ahmad
Common name: Coffee Senna, coffeeweed, Negro coffee • Hindi: Kasunda, Bari kasondi • Marathi: ran-takda, kasivda, kasoda, rankasvinda • Tamil: Nattam takarai, Payaverai • Malayalam: Mattantakara • Telugu: Thangedu • Kannada: ಕೋಲ್ತೊಗಚೆ Kolthogache, ಆನೆ ಚೊಗಟೆ Aane chogate • Bengali: Kalkashunda • Oriya: Kasundri • Urdu: Kasonji • Assamese: Hant-thenga • Gujarati: Kasundri • Sanskrit: Kasamarda, Vimarda, Arimarda • Mizo: Reng-an
Botanical name: Senna occidentalis    Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Synonyms: Cassia occidentalis

Coffee Senna is a smooth annual that can grow up to 2 m tall. The leaves are compound, leaflets, in 4-6 pairs, have a sharp tip. These leaflets are 2-9 cm long and 2-3 cm wide with a distinct gland 3-5 mm from the base of the stalk. Flowers occur in leaf axils. Sepals are green and 6-9 mm long. The petals are yellow and 1-2 cm long. The 6-7 stamens are of two different lengths. The seed pods are dark brown, 8 to 12 cm long, 7-10 mm wide and curve slightly upward. The seeds are dull brown, 4-5 mm long and flattened on both ends. The seeds can be roasted and made into a coffee-like drink. Coffee Senna is native to Tropical & Subtropical America, but widely naturalized in the Tropical world.
Medicinal uses: The seed is bitter and has purgative properties. It is also used as a diuretic, liver detoxifier, as a hepato-tonic (balances and strengthens the liver). Further, used in whooping cough and convulsion.

Identification credit: Sankara Rao, Shrikant Hadole Photographed in Bangalore & Delhi.

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