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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Griffin, Georgia » Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #253325

Title: Christmas-candle Senna:An ornamental and pharmaceutical plant

item Morris, John - Brad

Submitted to: Genetic Resources, Chromosome Engineering, and Crop Improvement
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/6/2010
Publication Date: 9/15/2011
Citation: Morris, J.B. 2011. Christmas-candle Senna:An ornamental and pharmaceutical plant. In: Singh R., editor. Genetic Resources, Chromosome Engineering, and Crop Improvement Medicinal Plants. Vol.6. Urbana,IL:CRC Press. p.793

Interpretive Summary: Christmas candle is a shrub or treee whose leaves, flowers, and seeds offers an abundance of beauty for the landscape and potential new medicines. Two accessions are maintained at the Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit, Griffin, GA. Little information for growing Christmas candle in Georgia is known. Both accessions produce quality plants and beautiful flowers. Literature shows that Christmas candle has been used worldwide for various health problems but also has great potential as anti-viral and antimicrobial medicines. Quality production for ornamental characteristics and health chemicals exist in Christmas candle for use in the southern U.S.A.

Technical Abstract: Christmas candle (Senna alata L.) is an underutilized legume. The USDA, ARS, PGRCU curates only 2 accessions of Christmas candle. Christmas candle plants were transplanted from about 21 day-old seedlings with further transplanting to larger pots containing potting soil as the plants grew larger. However greater plant size, multiple branching, and flower production occurs when Christmas candle plants are propagated from 2-4 cm long stem cuttings and planted into potting soil containing pine bark, perlite, vermiculite, and sphagnum moss. Visual observation confirmed that these Christmas candle accessions have ornamental leaves and flowers. Based on literature reviews, Christmas candle leaves have been used for skin rashes and diseases. In addition, it has potential to be used as an antitumor or antimicrobial medication.