Emperor’s Candlesticks Tree
Senna alata – Emperor’s Candlesticks
Other Common Names: Candlebush, Candlestick Senna, Ringworm Bush, Christmas-candle, Ringworm Senna, Candle Bush, Golden Candle,
Senna alata is a medicinal plant and an ornamental flowering plant that belongs to the pea family, Fabaceae. Its common names include Candletree, Candle Bush, Candelabra Bush, Christmas Candles, Empress Candle Plant, or Emperor’s Candlesticks.
It grows in diverse habitats, but it is considered to be a subtropical bush that only grows 4 to 6 feet tall. Sometimes, it can grow up to 10 feet, depending on the growing environment. It has a spreading growth habit that can reach several feet, depending on its height.
It grows well if placed under full sun and it is also not picky when it comes to the type of soil that it grows into, that is why it is considered as an invasive species in some places.
The leaves of the Emperor’s Candlesticks are alternate and pinnately compound, growing anywhere between 50 to 80 centimeters long. Flowers grow in inflorescences that resemble a yellow candlestick, hence the name. Since it is evergreen, brilliant yellow flowers, sometimes ranging to golden orange, pretty much bloom all throughout the year.
The flowers consist of 5 cupped petals and are very attractive to bees, butterflies, and even birds. They are followed by fruits that are shaped like winged bean pods containing flat, triangular seeds that are 0.25 inches or 6 millimeters long.
Emperor’s Candlestick is poisonous when eaten, but is widely used as a medicinal plant. It has fungicidal properties which prove to be very effective in treating ringworms and other skin fungal infections. It also has a purgative and laxative effect, as it contains anthraquinone, which is a naturally occurring phenolic compound.