Cassia fistula
Common Name: golden shower tree 
Type: Tree
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Southeastern Asia, Central and South America, northern Australia, Pacific Islands
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 30.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 30.00 to 50.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to September
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zone 9b where it is grown in average, medium moisture well drained soils in full sun. Established trees have some drought tolerance. Site in locations protected from drying winds. Intolerant of frost. Propagate from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cassia fistula, commonly called golden shower tree, is a small to medium-sized tree that typically grows to 30-40' tall in an upright form often open at the top. It is native to India, Malaysia and Southeast Asia. It is well-known for producing a show-stopping bloom of yellow flowers in May-June/July. Even pinnate compound leaves to 12-16" long with 4-8 pairs of ovate-lanceolate leaflets (each leaflet to 4" long) per leaf. Leaves usually drop in April as a prelude to flowering which occurs from May to early July. Five-petaled, bright yellow flowers bloom in 8-18" pendulous terminal racemes which cover the tree with profuse bloom. Flowers are lightly scented. Leaves return as the flowering progresses, with foliage totally restored by July. Tree is often considered to be semi-deciduous or semi-evergreen because of this brief loss of leaves. A second less significant bloom often occurs in September but without loss of leaves. Flowers are followed by slender, terete, woody bean pods which grow to 2' long. Pods emerge green but mature to black, remaining on the tree until the following year. Sticky brown pulp inside the pods has been used in herbal medicines. Golden shower tree is the National tree of Thailand and the national flower of Thailand. Popular plant as ornamental and for herbal medicine. Dried fruit has medicinal properties. Is now widely grown in tropical and subtropical areas around the world.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for a genus of leguminous plants which provide the senna leaves and pods important in pharmacy.

Specific epithet means hollow like a pipe.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some tolerance for brief light frost with temperatures to 25 degrees F. Mildew and leaf spot.

Garden Uses

Ornamental. Shade tree. Formerly planted in some populated areas as a street tree, but this use has waned as planners have shifted to using Cassia x nealiae for this purpose because this hybrid does not drop as many leaves at flowering time and does not produce any seed pods.