Popcorn Jasmine and Feathery Cassia

popcorn jasmine (Jasminum mesnyi)

popcorn jasmine (Jasminum mesnyi)

feathery cassia (Cassia / Senna artemisioides)

feathery cassia (Cassia / Senna artemisioides)

For Valley gardeners, spring comes in February.
Already, the popcorn jasmine (Jasminum mesneyi) is in bloom. Its sheets of puffy yellow and white flowers, slightly fragrant, drape themselves, tapestry-like, over walls or simply shoot up and spill over like floriferous jets from an uncanny botanical fountain.
Also, at this moment, ornamental flowering peaches are flaunting their deep rose petals. Ornamental pears are nothing but enormous billows of white flowers. And the acacias are showing or will soon be showing their miniature golden yellow flower globes.
The other day, I saw a hedge of feathery cassia (Senna artemisioides), an acacia relative, in full flower. The foliage is indeed feathery, each blue gray leaf composed of many needle-thin leaflets. Its blooming performance, which features a dense array of sulfur yellow to orange flowers (color changes according to light exposure), is outstanding at this time of year but may repeat itself in summer or in fall. Seeds that form in its leguminous pods are easily germinated if they are dropped in a cup of boiled water and, after soaking there for two days, planted just beneath the surface of any well-drained soil.
If you want to continue to have feathery cassias in your yard, you would do well to start a crop of their seedlings sooner rather than later, since you may soon need to use them as replacements for your original plants. As wonderful as feathery cassias are to have around, you should not get too attached too them, as they are short-lived, typically dying within five or six years of being planted. If they live longer than that, they may become increasingly unattractive on account of continuous dieback of their twigs and stems.
They share this characteristic with the rock roses (Cistus species), much loved for their fragrant leaves and crepe-textured flowers in rose, salmon, purple and white, but short-lived and victimized by the same stem dieback to which cassias, acacias and other leguminous shrubs and trees succumb.

Pin It

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *