Cassia leptophylla
Common Name: pink shower 
Type: Tree
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Southeastern Brazil
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 20.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy

Culture

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

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cassia leptophylla, commonly called gold medallion tree, is a small open-crowned tree with spreading, slightly drooping branches. It typically matures to 20-30' tall. It is native to Brazil. It is noted for producing large pinnate leaves, a showy display of yellow flowers in summer and large bean-like seed pods following the flowers. This tree is now grown primarily as an ornamental in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. It is noted for performing better in the climate of the State of California than other species of Cassia. Each even-pinnate compound leaf (to 12-18" long) has 9-14 pairs of small narrow leaflets (each to 2.5" long). This tree is considered to be semi-evergreen (drops some leaves during the year, sometimes in tropical climates having dry seasons and sometimes in winter if extended cool weather or a tinge of frost occurs). This tree is particularly noted for producing a show-stopping bloom of fragrant yellow flowers (2-3" wide) arranged in 6-10" long terminal clusters (racemes), each containing 30-50 flowers. Flowers bloom in summer sometimes extending into early fall. Flowers are followed by slender, twisted, 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.

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 comes from Greek leptos meaning narrow and phyllon meaning leaf in reference to the narrow leaves of this tree.

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. Small shade tree. Street tree. Lawn specimen.