Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cassia, a large genus of leguminous plants of various sizes, many of which are in cultivation, having handsome pinnate leaves and showy yellow fiowers which are not papilionaceous. Three of the ten stamens are long, four short, and three sterile, and the anthers open by pores. Whatever their shape, the leaflets are always oblique at the base, so that adulteration is readily detected. The leaflets (with which the pods are often mixed) of several species are the well-known cathartic drug, senna (q.v.). The chief varieties are, Alexandrian or Nubian, Aleppo, Bombay or Tinnevelly, and American senna, the latter being the produce of C. marilandica. The seeds of C. occidentalis, a widely-distributed species, are known as Negro coffee, being used as a substitute for coffee, and are found valuable as a febrifuge. C. fistula has been separated as the genus Cathartocarpus from the peculiar structure of its fruit. This is a black, woody, cylindrical pod, one to two feet long, marked by three longitudinal furrows, and divided internally into numerous one-seeded compartments by transverse partitions.