Senna covesii – Coves' Cassia

Senna covesii - Coves' Cassia, Coues' Cassia, Desert Senna

Senna covesii - Coves' Cassia, Coues' Cassia, Desert Senna

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Senna covesii

Synonym: Cassia covesii

Common Names: Coves' Cassia, Coues' Cassia, Desert Senna

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Subshrub, Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert. This wildflower often grows on rocky slopes.

Flower Color: Yellow

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Height: Up to 2 feet (61 cm) tall

Description: The flowers are 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and have 5 cupped petals. The flowers are followed long, fuzzy, brown bean pods that become woody and twisted and split in half when dry. The leaves are dull green to gray-green in color and pinnately compound with 2 to 3 pairs of elliptical leaflets. The stems are thornless, tan in color, and covered in fuzzy hair.

The similar Twinleaf Senna (Senna bauhinioides) has leaves with only a single pair of leaflets, while Velvet Leaf Senna (Senna lindheimeriana) has leaves with more than 3 pairs of leaflets.

Special Characteristics

Butterfly Plant – This is a favorite food plant for Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) caterpillars. If you find a Coves' Cassia with chewed leaves or flowers, look for one of these caterpillars on it.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus: Senna Mill. – senna
Species: Senna covesii (A. Gray) Irwin & Barneby – Coves' cassia

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map