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Senna italica

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds have physical dormancy, which can be overcome by scarifying the seed coat to allow water uptake and encourage germination.

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Email your image to difficultseeds@kew.org

Seed Storage

This species has Orthodox seeds - dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.

Germination Requirements

The seeds of this species are expected to be Physically Dormant (based on other species in the same genus). Scarify the seeds before sowing by chipping with a scalpel. Germinate on agar, germination paper or sand at 20 to 25°C.

Seed Morphology

The seeds (5.55-5.78 mm x 2.3-2.5 mm x 3.34-3.66 mm) are protected by a seed coat and can be bright orange-brown or dark brown in colour, representing two different forms. The seeds are laterally compressed, oval in outline and have no sarcotesta. The surface of the seed is angular, and has a short raphe and a small hilum. The seed configuration is anatropous. The yellow embryo is axial-investing and makes up a quarter or more of the seed volume. There is no perisperm present.

See more images of this species at the Digital Atlas of Economic Plants.

Cross section of Senna italica seed
(Image: M. Ballester, RBG Kew)

Taxonomy

Family: LEGUMINOSAE-CAESALPINIOIDEAE

Accepted name: Senna italica Mill.

Synonyms: Cassia italica (Mill.) Spreng. subsp. italica, Cassia ashrek Forssk.

Common name:

References and Links

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Senna italica.
  • PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Senna italica.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Senna italica.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Senna italica.