Colutea × media

Common Name: bladder senna 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Garden origin
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Copper to brownish red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy


Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers somewhat dryish conditions. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, except wet ones. Prune as needed in late winter to early spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Colutea × media is a deciduous shrub with a rounded habit which typically grows 6-10' tall. Features compound, odd-pinnate, bluish-green foliage and copper to brownish-red, pea-like flowers which are borne in 2-4" long racemes. Flowers appear in spring, but often continue to bloom sparsely and intermittently throughout the summer. Flowers give way to inflated, bladder-like, 3" long seed pods which exhibit variable coloration (green to pink to bronze to purple).

Genus name comes from the Greek word kolutea for these shrubs.

Specific epithet means intermediate.


No serious insect or disease problems. This shrub does not perform well in hot and humid summer climates such as St. Louis.


Shrub border. An interesting option for areas with poor soils.