Wild Senna

Senna hebecarpa


Renowned for its multi-seasonal allure, Wild Senna, is a robust long-lasting herbaceous perennial. It features a striking foliage adorned with compound, medium to dark green leaves hosting 10-20 leaflets. These leaves serve as a splendid backdrop for the large clusters of dazzling bright yellow flowers that bloom in mid to late summer. Perched atop a sturdy central stem and nestled in the leaf axils, these blooms grace the plant for up to 4 weeks. Each blossom showcases 5 pale yellow sepals and petals, 10 stamens with black anthers, and a prominent pistil adorned with long white hairs. The captivating flowers attract a variety of butterflies and hummingbirds.

Following the bloom period, chocolate brown seedpods emerge, becoming a favored food source for birds, particularly larger species like wild turkeys. As autumn approaches, the foliage transforms into vibrant yellow hues, while the black seed pods persist into winter, extending the plant’s seasonal interest. With a horizontal root system that often forms vegetative colonies and a tendency to self-seed readily, Wild Senna is low-maintenance and thrives in disturbed areas.

Wild Senna is indigenous to eastern North America. It flourishes as a sparsely branched perennial plant with alternate, compound leaves. Clusters of light yellow to orange flowers adorn the plant from July to August across North America. Its habitat spans from the Great Lakes region and Maine southwards through the Eastern United States, including the Appalachian Mountains and Atlantic Plains, down to Georgia. Often found in moist open woodlands and disturbed areas, Wild Senna plays a vital ecological role as a larval host and nectar source for various butterfly species, including the Cloudless Giant Sulphur.

Cultivated for its ornamental value, Wild Senna is a great addition for perennial wildflower gardens and wildlife habitats. Additionally, it holds significance in Native American ethnobotany, with various tribes utilizing infusions for medicinal purposes, including alleviating cramps, fever, and heart troubles.


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