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Bahama senna, Chapman's wild sensitive plant
Senna mexicana var. chapmanii

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Accent groundcover. Wildflower and rock gardens.

Availability: Native plant nurseries. Available in Miami at Pro Native Consulting (786-488-3101), in Sarasota at Florida Native Plants Nursery (941-322-1915) and in Boynton Beach at Sustainscape (561-245-5305).

Description: Small shrub or woody groundcover with attractive yellow flowers.

Dimensions: About 2-4 feet in height. Spreading and becoming much broader than tall.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Range: Monroe County Keys and Miami-Dade County; Bahamas and Cuba. Very rare or absent in the upper Monroe County Keys. In Miami-Dade County, native to the Miami Rock Ridge from Long Pine Key in Everglades National Park northeast perhaps as far north as the Miami River.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Pine rocklands and rockland hammock edges.

Soils: Moist, well-drained limestone soils, with or without humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.

Drought Tolerance: Moderate to high; plants growing in extremely dry soils may die during extended periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Yellow.

Flower Characteristics: Showy, about 3/4" wide.

Flowering Season: All year.

Fruit: Brown pod (legume).

Wildlife and Ecology: Larval host plant for cloudless sulphur (Phoebis sennae), sleepy orange (Eurema nicippe) and the introduced orange-barred sulphur (Phoebis philea) butterflies. A gland at the base of the leaves attracts ants that attack the butterfly caterpillars. Attracts pollinators.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed.

References: Hammer 2004

Comments: It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by:

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Other data on Senna mexicana var. chapmanii available from:

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