Cassia leptophylla, or the Gold Medallion Tree, is a semi-deciduous tree native to southern Brazil but growing well in subtropical and warm temperate regions of the world. This tree requires well-drained soil with little threat of freezing temperatures and should be grown in direct sunlight for full flowering potential. The gold medallion tree can reach heights of 8 metres with proper pruning.
The dark green leaves are pinnately compound and alternately arranged. Leaves are made up of 8–12 oval- to spear-shaped leaflets that are generally 4-5 cm long and 1 cm wide. The bark and new woody stems are brown and smooth. Blooms are showy, yellow flowers that appear in spherical clusters (the "gold medallions") around the canopy of the tree in the summer months, and fruits are 30 cm-long dry pods.
The gold medallion tree is planted primarily as a shade tree or as a decorative specimen for the yard or street. Many people like this tree because of its fast growth rate and showy, bright yellow clusters of flowers that bloom in the summer months. The flowers have a delicate perfume. This tree loses its leaves for a very short period each year, but leaves are quickly replaced. Part of the tree and seeds are poisonous.
The tree belongs to the Fabaceae or Leguminosae, the bean family. Cassia comes from the ancient Hebrew word “quetsi’oth”, first used by Dioscorides, a physician in Ancient Greece (40–90 AD). Linnaeus, also known as the father of taxonomy, was the first to use Cassia to signify members of this genus. The species name leptophylla is a combination of the Greek words lepto- meaning “fine or slender” and phylla meaning “leaves,” which together mean “slender leaves.”
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.