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House Plants/Plant leaves fold up at night


Edith wrote at 2008-10-04 14:12:24
I want to ask a question but it won't take me to "Ask a Question" page.

My granddaughter has the same plant as Bette in her front yard here in Burkesville, Cumberland Co., Kentucky.

Beverly wrote at 2008-10-17 01:50:41
I too have this in my yard. I did not plant it either. I fact I have two, both are below an area where I hang bird feeders. Perhaps the seeds fell out and sprouted there. I live in Cecil County Md.

PDR wrote at 2009-01-03 02:29:31
I deliberately planted one of these last summer. I liked it because the leaves are so dynamic and it grew so quickly.

I simply cannot remember the name of the seeds. I found them by searching fast growing trees sometime a year ago.

Edith wrote at 2009-04-19 18:32:39
I purchased a book at Standing Stone State Park in Tennessee and the plant the question was about is a Sicklepod - Senna obtusifolia.  It can be found in Pennsylvania according to the map on the back of the book.

General:  Annual, to 3 ft. tall, with an unpleasant odor.  Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound with 2-3 pairs of elliptic to obovate leaflets, each leaflet 1-2 in. long; terminal leaflets always obovate.  Flowers:  Dull yellow, 5 slightly unequal petals about 0.5 in. long never seem to open fully; 1-2 flowers in axillary clusters.  July-September.  Fruits: Narrow legumes, strongly curved and 4-angled.  Where found:  An introduced subtropical species.  Moist to dry open woods and roadsides.  Range now extends north to NE, IL, and NY.  Scattered throughout TN.  Occasional.  Cassia obtusifolia.

Notes:  This plant is also called Coffee Weed and Java Bean as the seeds of a related species, Sickle Senna (S. tora), were roasted as a coffee substitute and eaten during times of famine.

Tea made from the seeds of Sicklepod was traditionally used to treat headaches, fatigue, stomachaches, hepatitis, herpes, and arthritis.  The seeds are poisonous if ingested.  [Needless to say it is confusing as to why it is used in such methods.]

Dianne wrote at 2009-07-30 01:05:27
After searching and searching the net I found a link that has a pic of what it is along with pics of similar plants...   

and these 2 names that go along with it...mine looks more like the pics on the senna than those of the cassia ...

The names could be Senna Alata or Cassia Alata ... or those may be some you want to google or search to see if it's what you have :)

Jeremy wrote at 2010-08-01 04:25:32
I think Edith is correct with the Senna obtusifolia identification for this plant.  Senna alata is more tropical, only marginally hardy in my north Florida garden.

charlie howell wrote at 2012-08-07 16:25:00
I found this plant in my back yard; all summer I have been pulling it up thinking it was a common weed.  Last night I discovered to my amazement that all the leaves were folded up, and this morning I fed it miracle grow and watered it well.  I hope it comes back next year.

bee wrote at 2013-07-20 03:22:46
This plant came up in one of my planters. I believe it was in the miricle grow soil i added to the planter. I live in floridA and it does seem to grow fast. Glad to get an idea of what it is. No flowers yet.

BE wrote at 2014-09-02 00:07:07
This plant volunteered in my garden in upstate NY this summer, and I have been trying to determine its identity. The leaves and the way they fold up at night are fascinating. Thank you to Edith for identifying the plant as a Senna obtusifolia. My plant has not flowered (or at least not yet), but it does appear to be spreading via shoots/runners, so it may need to eventually be pulled.  

Tunes wrote at 2015-07-27 00:05:03
I have the same plant in my backyard. It also has small yellow flowers. What is it?

tdot wrote at 2015-08-09 19:58:36
It's Cassia Alata.  I love this plant.  I adore watching it fold up at night, and pray. So sweet. Mine are only a few months old but grow quickly.  I don't know what to do come winter!!!  It's a tropical plant that's very greedy for sun, loves water initially but I think can tolerate drought.  I live in Canada and am trying to figure out what to do come sept/oct.

Anyone successfully keep these indoors?

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Darlene K. Kittle


I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.


I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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