Monographs Details: Cassia sophoroides Mart.
Authors:Howard S. Irwin, Rupert C. Barneby
Authority: Irwin, Howard S. & Barneby, Rupert C. 1978. Monographic studies in Cassia (Leguminosae, Caesalpinioideae). III. Sections Absus and Grimaldia. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 30: 1-300.
Family:Caesalpiniaceae
Scientific Name:Cassia sophoroides Mart.
Synonyms:Cassia thyrsiflora Glaz.
Description:Species Description - Amply leafy shrubs to 1-3 m, with brown stems, densely hispidulous-villosulous throughout with short erect hairs mixed, especially on stem, lf-stalk and inflorescence, with minute setules, moderately viscid-glandular and not nigrescent, the foliage olivaceous subconcolorous, the showy exserted flowering racemes divaricate and flexuously drooping. Stipules erect or recurved, narrowly subulate-setiform, 1-1.5 mm, deciduous, often concealed by the first pair of leaflets. Lvs widely spreading, 6-17 cm, abruptly diminished in the inflorescence, strictly sessile; pulvinus discolored but not otherwise differentiated, ± 1 mm; lfts 5-8 pairs, heteromorphic, the lowest pair broader and shorter than the rest, commonly deflexed, amplexicaul by the cordate base, commonly mistaken for foliaceous stipules, the rest tilted forward and somewhat on edge from livid pulvinule 1-1.7 mm, little graduated but the terminal pair largest, the proximal pair in outline ovate-deltate obtuse to emarginate 1-2.5 cm long and almost or quite as wide, the rest obliquely ovati obtuse to subemarginate, (1.5-)2-5 x (0.8-)1-2.5 cm, mucronulate by excurrent midrib, at base asymmetrically cordate, the entire margin revolute, the blades thinly chartaceous, on both sides subequally villosulous, brownish-olivaceous, dull, concolorous or slightly paler beneath, the midrib and ±7-12 pairs of filiform secondary veins above immersed or slightly impressed, beneath prominulous, the few filiform tertiary venules slightly raised beneath, the ultimate reticulation there visible but fully immersed. Inflorescence a leafy-bracteate panicle of some 3-8 many-fld pedunculate racemes each bearing many expanded flowers at one time, these far over-topped by the succeeding buds, the axis (including peduncle ±2.5-5 cm) becoming 1.2-2.5 dm; bracts castaneous, linear-attenuate, 2.2-4 mm, early dry and caducous; pedicels very slender, ascending, 6-11 mm, bracteolate 0.5-3.5 mm below calyx; bracteoles resembling bracts but only 1-1.5 mm, deciduous; buds plumply ellipsoid to subglobose, very obtuse, densely hispidulous at base, thence glabrous; sepals reddish or orange (brown when dry), elliptic-oblanceolate to obovate, obtuse or the outer ones cucullate at apex, 5.5-7.5 x 2.5-4.5 mm; petals yellow, four obliquely flabellate- to broadly obovate-cuneate, 8-14 mm, the fifth falcately coiled over androecium; ovary densely yellow-setulose. Pod ±2.5 x 0.7-0.8 cm, viscid-puberulent and minutely setulose. — Collections: 8.

Distribution and Ecology - Campo, cerrado, probably upward from 1000 m, localized in s. Sa. do Espinhapo particularly in Sa. do Cipo (mun. Sta. Luzia and Jaboticatubas) s.-e. perhaps to the latitude of Belo Horizonte (Sta. Barbara), s.-centr. Minas Gerais. - Fl. III-VI. "Habitat in marginibus silvarum Caatingas dictarum prov. Bahiensis: Martius; in Brasilia centrali, loco accuratius haud cognito: Pohl."

Discussion:

An exceptionally handsome cassia, apparently related to C. itambana, which it resembles in its soft, inconspicuously glandular pubescence and long pliant racemes bearing many flowers expanded on the same day; but sharply distinct in its sessile leaves and 5-8 (not 3-5) pairs of leaflets. The remarkable heteromorphic first pair of leaflets arising close to the pulvinus was misinterpreted by Bentham as a pair of stipules. Their blades are nearly as broad as long, cordate-amplexicaul even through raised on a conventional pulvinule like the ovate distal leaflets, and commonly reflexed over the tiny setiform genuine stipules, which are moreover caducous and easily overlooked.

Modern collections of C. sophoroides all originate from the vicinity of Serra do Cipo and it seems likely that the locality of Martius, vaguely recorded as in the caatingas of Bahia state, is incorrect. At the very least it requires confirmation. Pohl's "Sta. Catarina", a name not known to Bentham, is not listed by Urban in the Pohl itineraries (Fl. Bras. 1 (1): 78, sequ); it could be some now forgotten fazenda in the southern Serra do Espinhago. Glaziou's Sta. Barbara, if the same as the type-station of C. giilesii, is believed to be the village of that name at 43° 25' W due east of Belo Horizonte.

Distribution:Brazil South America| Minas Gerais Brazil South America|

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