Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wednesday's Wildflower: Bahama Senna

Senna mexicana var. chapmanii
Submitted by Beryn Harty, Miami-Dade Chapter, resident of the lower Florida Keys


Photo by Beryn Harty in a refuge area of Lower Florida Keys

Bahama Senna is a small shrub, or sprawling groundcover with showy yellow flowers that bloom year-round in its natural, southern range. The bright yellow, five petal flowers, about the size of a US quarter, bloom the heaviest in the fall and winter. 


Photo by Beryn Harty in a refuge area of Lower Florida Keys

Bahama Senna is the host plant for Cloudless Sulphur, Orange Barred Sulphur, and Sleepy Orange Butterflies. Its preferred habitat is pine rocklands and rockland hammock edges in moist, well-drained limestone soils, typically in full sun to light shade.   

While listed as threatened in the state of Florida, it is easy to find and grow, stocked by many native nurseries, and can be grown from seed.  






Family Name: Fabaceae
Genus/Species: Senna mexicana var. chapmanii
Common Name(s): Bahama Senna, Chapman's wild sensitive plant, Mexican Senna. 
Native Range: South Florida and the West Indies (Cuba, Bahamas)
Seed pod,
photo by Beryn Harty

Hardiness zone: 11
Soil Type: Moist, well-drained limestone soils
Preferred Sun: full sun to light shade
Height at maturity: 2-4 feet
Propagation: (seed, seedling) Can be grown from seed

Other Links: 
FNPS: Bahama Senna
IRC Natives For Your Neighborhood: Bahama Senna
USF Plant Atlas: Senna mexicana var. chapmanii


Beryn Harty is a member of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and lives in the lower Florida Keys.

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