State Status: TU
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Rare (PR)
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3
Did You Know?
This species has leaves that can be used as a cathartic. Seedpods can be used as well but aren't as effective.
Wild senna (Senna marilandica) is an erect, bushy perennial herb that can grow up to 2m tall. The leaves are alternate, have dome-shaped gland near the base of the leaf stalk, and are divided into four to eight pairs of oblong to elliptic leaflets. The flowers are yellow, appear in July, and are up to 2.5cm wide, with five yellow petals and ten dark-red stamens. The fruit is a flattened pod marked with distinct segments.
Vulnerable in the nation or state due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.
The PA Biological Survey considers the wild senna to be a species of special concern, based on the relatively few occurrences that have been documented. It has a proposed rarity status of Rare.
It grows in a variety of habitats, including clearings, woods borders, road banks, open slopes, and in thickets.
Flowers June - September; fruits July - October
Wild senna has a distribution from New York west into Nebraska and south into Florida and Texas. In Pennsylvania, the occurrences are well distributed in the state.
Wild senna will benefit from protection of its habitat and of known populations. Removal of overgrowth and invasive species with the integration of fire regimes, when appropriate, will help to preserve the integrity of the sites.
Conservation Status Map
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.
- NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
- Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
- Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
- 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.