Cassia Tree Pruning: How And When To Trim Cassia Trees

Cassia Tree Pruning: How And When To Trim Cassia Trees

By: Jackie Carroll

Cassia trees are also called candlebrush, and it’s easy to see why. In late summer, the golden yellow flowers that hang from the branches in long clusters resemble candles. This large, spreading shrub or small tree makes a great container accent plant that looks fantastic on patios and near entryways. You can also use it as a specimen or lawn tree. Pruning cassia trees helps strengthen the structure and keeps it looking neat.

When to Trim Cassia Trees

Prune cassia trees at planting time only if necessary to removed dead and diseased branches and those that cross and rub against each other. Rubbing causes wounds that can provide entry points for insects and disease organisms.

Cassia trees are normally pruned in late winter or early spring. Early pruning gives the shrub plenty of time to form the buds that will bloom in late summer. Do the first structural pruning the first spring after planting. Early spring is also a good time to pinch out the tips of new growth to encourage more lateral shoots and flowers.

How to Prune Cassia Trees

Cassia tree pruning begins by removing dead and diseased branches. If you are removing just a portion of a branch, make the cut one-quarter inch (.6 cm.) above a bud or twig. New stems will grow in the direction of the bud or twig, so choose the site carefully. Cut out diseased and damaged branches several inches (10 cm.) below the damage. If the wood in the cross section of the cut is dark or discolored, cut a little further down the stem.

When pruning for structure, remove branches that shoot straight up and leave those that have a wide crotch between the branch and the trunk. Make a clean cut flush with the trunk when removing a branch. Never leave a long stub.

Removing the tips of new growth encourages more new branches and flowers. Take off the tips of the stems, cutting just above the last bud on the branch. Since the flowers form on new growth, you’ll get more flowers as the new shoots form.

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Cassia Species, Gold Medallion Tree


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

Seed Collecting:


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Los Angeles, California(3 reports)

San Diego, California(3 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On Jun 14, 2018, robbbyb from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

wondering if anyone knows how to tell is the gold medallion tree is unhealthy or dying. we have a tree outside our house in Hollywood, CA, and it appears to be shedding a large number of its leaves (in June). I suppose if it doesn't bloom this summer that's a bad sign?

On Apr 4, 2017, Quocgia from LONG BEACH,
United States wrote:

Playa Vista community (near Marina Del Ray, LA county) plants a lot of Gold Medallion trees on both sides of its streets. I have bad experience with Gold Medallion tree:

In Spring time: it drops many tiny gum balls (on the cars and side walk). The gum balls become sticky and messy. I have to wash my car and clean sidewalk weekly.

In the early Winter: The matured seed pods open and ooze out a gooey glue-like brown balls. Within a day, it becomes harden and sticks solidly to your car. If you wait till then to remove it is too late. Your car top coat was eaten by this brown balls (leaves golf ball size spots smud)

On Jul 29, 2013, Klug from San Diego, CA wrote:

Grabbed a long seed pod off a tree near my house in San Diego a couple of years ago and promptly lost it. Found it in May and opened it up to plant the seeds. Tried three methods. Planted some as is. They didn't come up. Took several and put notches in the them so as to break the outer cover. Planted them and they came up. The last few I notched and soaked them in water overnight. Those came up the fastest. Two months later, they are about 8 inches high and looking very healthy.

I have read online height is 10 feet, others say 20-30 feet.
But most articles say that the seeds and other parts of the tree are very toxic, so now I am wondering about the fact that I was going to place them in my parkway. Also supposedly bother some with allergies. (I knew it, . read more I knew it!)

But those flowers are fantastic.

On Mar 7, 2013, marniebrow from Dana Point, CA wrote:

After seeing these beautiful trees around UC Irvine (zip 92612, about 5 miles inland), we planted two in Dana Point (92629, 1 mile inland) 5 years ago. One is in the parkway strip in somewhat heavy clay soil and rare watering the other is in the lawn in amended soil with frequent but shallow watering. Both are magnificent, blooming like crazy in early summer and holding their flowers through early-mid fall. We leave the seed pods on for additional visual interest through winter, but may trim them off next year. Both trees keep most of their leaves year-round, and maintain a nice shape with little-to-no pruning needed. Only clean-up we do is picking up fallen seed pods. We haven't had luck (yet) with seed propagation.

On Nov 20, 2012, TropicalPatty from Canyon Lake, TX wrote:

After many months of searching the web to identify this plant, I finally found it on this website. Thank you Dave's Gardens! I purchased the plant at a local nursery when it was very small.The nursery had it identified as a Candlestick plant which is what I was looking for. I bought 3 of them and planted them at the base of an Live Oak tree. That was last year. Much to my surprise, this spring, the plant took off and is now 8ft tall and loaded with flowers. Because it was planted among my candlestick plants I knew it was diffinitely not the candlestick I thought I had purchased. It is an amazing plants with beautiful yellow orchid like flowers. This past winter was mild and the Cassis leptophylla did very well in the ground. I will do cuttings and raise them in my greenhouse over the 2012 . read more winter in the event Central texas has a harsh winter. As they say in Texas, if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes and it will change!!

On Jul 26, 2012, Hobson63 from Isla Vista, CA wrote:

These trees are everywhere in Santa Barbara/Goleta and we recently purchased one and put in in the ground about a week ago. Updates of it progress may be forth coming.

On Mar 16, 2011, robison7 from Westminster, CA wrote:

We love this tree so much we are getting another, its about 10' tall and last year we had about 20 clusters of flowers. This tree is all around Disneyland really and looks real nice. We live in 92683 and need one more on the other side of the driveway. From what we have seen they are not messy, shady and green all year.

On Oct 25, 2009, Jungleman from Pasadena, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Not sure why, but this trees is very slow to fill out. I have a small number of short branches at the top on a long narrow stalk. I have it staked due to this, and I expected much faster growth. It gets regular water. Perhaps that is too much!

On Mar 16, 2009, mlmattlin from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

Not only is this a great tree, the dry pods are musical! Take two and rattle, scrape, and clack them together. A lot of fun with kids, and if they break, the seeds are separately encapsuled, so it's not a mess.

On May 21, 2007, bsharf from Palm Coast, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

These are growing at Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. Such a dramatic burst of color.

On Jun 26, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I planted this tree in Carbon Canyon, Chino hills, California 91709, it is a glorious specimen. For the 1st 3 years it contained only from 3 to 5 flower groups, but on the 4th year, right before our move to Norhtern California it was the envy of the neighborhood with 6 full flowers. our weather pattern was rather cold in winter, with some frost with days down to 20 degrees, in summer temperatures could easily reach 104 degrees. It received water from our sprinklers, I did not take any special care and wish to plant one in our new home in Castro Valley, Ca 94546, Hope to hear if this will grow well here.

Bring potted cassia plants indoors if frost is an issue and you want them to remain evergreen. Place them in a sunny window and water just enough so the soil doesn't dry completely. Cold may kill back the foliage on outdoor plants. Remove the dead leaves once new growth resumes in spring.

Monitor cassia plants for insects such as aphids and whiteflies, which are more likely to affect indoor plants. Inspect the underside of leaves for colonies of aphids, or shake the stems gently and check for small white flies fleeing the disturbed plant. Spray the pests directly with an insecticidal soap or an insecticide containing neem oil. Repeat applications every three days or as directed on the spray label until the pests are gone. According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, cassia plants aren't susceptible to any major diseases.

Things You Will Need

Insecticidal soap or an insecticide containing neem oil

Cassia plants used to belong to the genus Cassia, but they were divided into their own separate genus of senna. Some nurseries may still use the botanic name Cassia.


Some varieties of cassia, such as Senna pendula var. glabrata, are invasive in some regions. Verify that the varieties you select are safe to grow in your area.

Cassia Species, Indian Laburnum, Golden Rain, Golden Shower, Purging Cassia

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cassia (KASS-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: fistula (FIST-yoo-luh) (Info)
Synonym:Bactyrilobium fistula
Synonym:Cassia bonplandiana
Synonym:Cassia fistuloides
Synonym:Cassia rhombifolia
Synonym:Cathartocarpus excelsus


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From seed germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Saint Petersburg, Florida(3 reports)

Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

Brownsville, Texas(2 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

I'd like to ask which month do you collect the cassia fistula seed pods?
Thank you.

On Oct 2, 2016, Debs13 from Dubai,
United Arab Emirates wrote:

I planted 2 of these yellow flowering trees almost 4 years ago in Dubai and have had amazing seasons of trees literally full of blooms for a couple of weeks of the year. Stunning to look at however very messy with the flowers dropping which seems to attract small snails as a result as they feed off them. Be cautious where u plant them due to their root system that will grow towards water thus sprinkler systems or ponds etc
However confused with the name and wanted to confirm does the tree go by all these names or are they just similar trees with yellow hanging flowers.
I have recently found out how poisonous they are and having Jack Russels need to ask can the flowers or leaves have any impact on them as 1 of dogs started with seizures and not sure if this impacted by this tr. read more ee.
Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated.

On Mar 22, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

In south Florida, the principal bloom is in May/June. Usually the foliage drops before bloom, and some dryness then can help promote better bloom. (Too much drought can inhibit bloom.) Leaves regrow during flowering. There is usually a rebloom in September, without any loss of foliage.

Some comments confuse this tree with the Laburnums, also called golden chain trees, but which are hardy northern trees intolerant of the hot summers south of USDA Z6. There are also trees in Kolreuteria called golden rain trees, with which these also might be confused.

According to research performed at the University of Florida, C. fistula is also among the trees most subject to wind damage. I'd avoid planting one within 30' of a building or other valuable structure, especially. read more where hurricanes are a common threat.
Skilled pruning of young trees can help them develop a stronger crown.

In south Florida, this tree generally doesn't get much over 35'. Its habit is usually upright, but it can get as much as 30' wide.

On May 25, 2015, sofiaporto from Okatie, SC wrote:

Hello Dave,
I live in Bluffton, SC.
I have a young cassia tree that died last winter (and to my great surprise) came back and is growing now a couple of feet. Where he lives, I have some bushes around and has not much sun. I would like to transplanting it to a better location. i have a couple of questions.

1. Shall I remove some boxwoods and bushes to let the sun come to and shine on the tree?
2. Shall I remove the tree to a sunny location somewhere else in the garden?
3. Shall i move the boxwoods to another location and leave the tree where it is?

I don't want to lose the tree. Please tell me what is the best option for me to do.
Thank you very much.

On Mar 16, 2015, blugoose from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

We bought this house here in St Pete, Fl over 25 years ago now. We got a fully mature Golden Shower tree with the house. It is still a huge showoff and brings admirers to our yard with cameras. It is outside our privacy fence and the boughs hang over our small pool which makes for a lovely dip! The blooms seem to last a very long time and the scent seems to me similar to star jasmine drifting in from a distance. I have never grown one from seed but have passed along pods to anyone who asks. It doesn't seem to mind when you trim it, either. The city did a butcher job a few years ago while putting in new electric poles and wires. I was livid but she survived and is doing well. I have no idea how old this tree is or how long they live. Maybe forever. We can only hope.

On Oct 11, 2014, anne32132 from Edgewater, FL wrote:

I had one of these beautiful trees as we refer to as the scrambled egg tree many years ago it was planted in my front yard until a big gust of wind came through and blew it over. I recently found a plant growing inmy front garden from which pods were found. Not knowing what this was I continue to watch it grow. I noticed it resembled the scrambled egg tree however leaves were much bigger than those of the older tree. I did notice
that under the larger leaves and pods were the smaller leaves with little blooms. I was happy to report that I have a scrambled egg tree growing in my yard with several pods collected to share with family and friends. I directly planted seeds into ground.I now have several baby cassia's planted in pots and in the ground in a wind safe area's.

On Aug 29, 2014, swingate from Wauchula, FL wrote:

We bought one from a local nursery about five years ago and it was blooming when it was planted. It hasn't bloomed since although this year it put on a lot of new growth. I wish some one could tell me how to make it bloom. I used a blooming fertilizer recommended by the nursery but no blooms. It's probably past blooming time now. What can I do. If anyone could help me I would be grateful.

On Jul 10, 2008, BrugDatLvr from Sanford, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

**Upon recent bloom, has become apparent that my particular plant is actually Senna Alata, Description moved to appropriate Plant File**

On Jun 21, 2007, SierraTigerLily from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have seen some beautiful specimens, easily twenty feet tall, growing in Palm Beach county, Florida. Does anyone know how easy they are to train? I'd like to make an arbor like the one posted in the pictures section for Laburnum Anagyroides. The Cassia trees appear brittle, so I'm not sure how easy it is to shape them.

On May 3, 2005, diana44 from Brick, NJ wrote:

I have had this tree for years, it seems to attract spider mites. It rarley has blooms and grows very, very slow. I live In New Jersey. I wonder if its get too cold in the winter for it. I see every one else that has had sucess lives in much warmer climates. Im going to load it up with miracid, maybe that will help.

On Feb 27, 2005, cheryldawn from Lakeland, FL wrote:

I see these trees all around where I live in Lakeland, Florida. I think they're beautiful.I aquired some seed to sow. But, I recently read on another forum that they often don't bloom when grown by seed. Something about it's gene pool and the odds would be like 1 out of a thousand grown by seed might bloom.
Does anyone know if that's true? I'd hate to grow some by seeds, only to find out a few years later that it's not ever going to bloom.
Thanks, [email protected]

On Nov 14, 2004, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

Cassia fistula , aka Golden Shower Tree is a tropical tree that grows from zones 9b and warmer. Both it and the similar-looking Laburnum anagyroides have hanging wisteria like blooms in beautiful yellows.

On Nov 13, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Not bad for an exotic. Nearby there is a boulevard with these planted all along it. It looked nice in the spring. They all bloomed at the same time. I seem to remember the bloom hit around april/mayish definitely not june or july as some of the nearby reports have indicated but I suppose that depends on the microclimate. They look like nice shade trees. Too bad no one showed a closeup of the bark or closeups of the leaves.

Gives florida some badly needed color. Don't get too excited though, the flowers only last about a week. A native alternative for someone living in Florida would be the redbud but those don't get as large.

On Jun 26, 2004, spaceman_spiff from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have been driving past one of these trees on my way to work in St. Petersburg, FL, and the beautiful flowers recently made me notice it in detail. I decided to go by there on my day off and take some photos (uploaded to this site today).

St. Petersburg is often listed as Zone 9, but I have also seen us listed as Zone 10, and I believe perhaps "Zone 9b."

The tree I photographed is about 20 feet tall and also had numerous seed pods on it. Since one pod was laying on the ground outside the owner's fence, I "rescued" it and brought it home to see if I can grow the seeds!

Took me a while to figure out what this tree was called, but since I had recently learned about the Royal Poinciana tree (Delonix regia) (a tree with vaguely similar seed pods a. read more nd beautiful red flowers--although very different leaves), I decided to start searching the database under the family of the Royal Poinciana (Caesalpiniaceae), and soon found this one.

On May 6, 2004, nature_girl from Singapore,

I live in singapore and there are plenty of 'golden shower' trees growing here. when the flowers bloom, the golden shower looks spectacular, especially when it is covered with hanging bunches of yellow flowers. the golden shower is popular among butterflies and you can usually see one or two around a golden shower tree. the pods are long, green and sausage like, turning black with maturity. many can often be found hanging from a single tree. all in all, a beautiful plant good for decoration.

On Apr 26, 2004, desertboot from Bangalore,
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

It's working! A fistful of Cassia fistula seeds from a single pod collected in the wild in April 2003 sat dormant in a tray of sand, outdoors, watered. until last week. As an experiment, I:
a) sifted out the seeds
b) lightly nicked the hard outer seed-cases with a pair of nail-clippers, being very careful not to damage the embryos
c) let the nicked seeds sit overnight in a cup of water and
d) sowed the bloated up little fellas in a 50:50 combination of peat and sand in a seed tray the following morning.

That was on the April 20, 2004. Delighted to report that the tops of the seeds are just beginning to emerge from cover - a sure sign of rapid activity below? All this, happening in South India where the temp is around 34 degrees C.
C. fistula grows wild in most Southern Indian jungles, and a bit of a rarity in urban gardens. The few that I've seen in and around town appear rather stunted (possibly because they are young?) but still "showy" when in bloom - as some indeed are right now - and nothing close to their larger wild cousins! I've also been warned that they are a delicate species and need all the TLC one can lavish on them - at least for the first three years. But what's exciting is that last years seeds had lain dormant for a good 12 months, just waiting to happen. Viva mum nature.

13th May: Update
24 delicate little goldenshower baby trees, each identical in almost all respects, all a uniform 3 inches tall.

I bought a house two years ago with a Weeping Golden Chain Tree in the front yard. I have no idea how old it is but it stands about 3 feet high, and so far has not bloomed. It may be I don't get enough sun because of large street trees.

On Mar 28, 2004, BrendaJane from Louisville, KY wrote:

I bought a chain tree two years ago, and I'm not sure how old needs to be be before it starts blooming .

On Dec 28, 2003, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

The tree resemblies a wisteria when in bloom, only in a nice yellow 1 foot hanging blooms that completely cover the entire tree. Makes a great tree for the late spring blooms that completely cover the tree. Is a small ornamental tree to about 20-25 foot tall at maturity.

I have recently moved to Honolulu, Hawaii (assigned to a military post. and military housing at Red Hill). I have a fully grown variant of the Golden Shower tree in my front yard.

On Jun 1, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

Here in Rio de Janeiro we have some really big Cassia fistula. When they bloom, the ground gets covered with white petals and stamens. Although itґs a wonderful looking tree, it's not recomended for parking places (imagine it, you park your red car, and when you return, it's all yellow :^P)

On Jun 23, 2002, AustinBarbie from Harker Heights, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Cassia fistula (Golden Shower Tree or Purging Cassia) is a late spring to mid-summer bloomer (with the heaviest blooming in June) that puts on a massive golden yellow floral display. The fragrant flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. Cassia is a very large genus with about 500 species, the better known members of which are fine flowering trees. To many, the finest cassia is the fistula.

Cassia fistula is a legume, rated 30-40 feet and native to India and South Asia. Golden Shower is related to the Jerusalem Thorn Tree and redbud.

The foliage is medium green and compound providing a nice open, lacy look.

Flowers are light yellow hanging in groups almost 12 inches in length. This cassia is a summer bloomer starting as . read more early as April then through August and a South Florida favorite.

Easy to grow, C. fistula is tolerant of many soils and light salt drift. Once established, it is a carefree tree with few requirements except food.

Cassia is a huge genus that includes many of the most colorful trees and shrubs in the tropics. Most Cassia shrubs are heavy bloomers with yellow flowers, are rated 15-30 feet and many are trained to be small trees. Plant them in full sun for best flowering. Groups of three are very nice as a medium height focal point.

Q. Planting A Cassia Tree On A Septic Drain Field

I planted a standardized Cassia tree over a new septic drain field. The system is about 3-ft below grade. The Cassia is growing into a huge healthy ball and blooms twice a year. My question is, have I made a big mistake and the roots have gone into the drain field?

More than likely. This tree has quite the root system, and will easily clog septic lines and systems.

I would contact your local extension service for help in this situation:

Q. can a cassia tree be moved and replanted?

I purchased a cassia tree about 9 months ago, I planted it close to by garden, and now I see where it is going to give too much shade for my garden. The tree is about nine feet tall. I would like to move it to another location to be away from the garden. What are you suggestions on what I can, and should do? Thank you for your help. Jim Weaver. [email protected]

Typically removing such a small tree will pose very little harm to it. There will be some things that you will need to consider. This article will get you started:

The Yellow Cassia Trees of KLCC Park

One of the most spectacular trees. Fast growing small to medium size tree with architectural crown structure and narrow pointed leaves that make this plant stand out from other cassias/sennas. Showy yellow flowers are scented and attract butterflies. The flowers come in big clusters and when the tree is in full bloom (Spring to Fall), the view is spectacular, hence the name. This plant looks very pretty as a container specimen or as a separately standing tree for a small yard. Prefers soils that are deep, moist and sandy but will tolerate calcareous soils. The rare plant doesn't exist in a wild anymore and can be found only in cultivation. The seeds of Cassia spectabilis are a potential source of commercial gum.

Today's post is dedicated to The Stopwatch Gardener, my first commenter for the Erythrina Glauca, The Red Flower Tree post.


We have this kind of trees in the Philippines too I just forget the name. This is really beautiful when all the flowers bloom, just make me happy watching them.

I thought that was a long beanpod! I have NO idea what it is, but it's a gorgeous tree - pretty beanpods, foliage, shape, flowers, everything. That pool looks really refreshing too!

Oh yes, this tree! I also notice that they are planted everywhere. Its yellow flower is really wonderful. They look best during sunny days. I like the surroundings of KLCC, very neat landscaping -D

that's a pretty tree!
Here's my MYM entry.

There are few yellow flowering trees that have the same features but they are different.
I have seen one with a flat seedpod and the leaves leaves sort of closes during the night.

I guess this one is different from the featured one in your post. If you come across Senna, Im sure you would able to identify it.

Hi Autumn Belle,
Thank you very much for the classification and the scientific name of the 7 needles. I have not been into my blogsite for a while that i did not see your comments at once. Again thank you very much. As to your blog question whether the needle-like protrusions in the flower will become the pods, yes they are. I have the technical knowledge about these things: the flowers, fruits, fertilization, botany, etc, but of course i am not knowledgeable much on classification. The taxonomists do these for us.

The Cassia Fistula is quite a common sight in Delhi, where I live. It is called Amaltaas(in Hindi) or Indian Laburnum. It looks really beautiful when flowering.
For more information you can follow the following link:

Eileen, Manang Kim, Wendy, Stephanie, James, Joops.
The flowers look like butterflies and there are so many of them, it is indeed showy. Flowers are in 2 shades of light and dark cream yellow.

James, actually I tend to get confuse over Senna and Cassia. I think both are quite similar.

Andrea, with your technical knowledge, I hope you can check on me and correct me when I am wrong. I am not a botanist. I just learn from the internet! So maybe my information is wrong. Thank you for teaching me to put italics and capital letter followed by small letter when describing the botanical/scientific name. I will remember this. I find this useful too.

Sujata, I observe that the cassia fistula is more common than the floribunda over here where I stay. The flowers of the floribunda is really very beautiful, the shape, colour and even the bean pod is unique.

Watch the video: Cassia tree