Senna aphylla

Botanical Name

Senna aphylla (Cavanilles) Irwin & Barneby

Common Name(s)

  • leafless senna
  • pichanilla (Spanish)
  • escoba (Spanish)

Legume Clades

Native Geographic Range

  • Southern South America

IUCN Status

Growth Form


Cultivation Status in AZ

Rarely cultivated


Leafless shrubs with many photosynthetic stems growing to 6.5 ft (2 m) high. Bark of older stems becomes orange and eventually gray and is smooth. Leaves are absent after the seedling stage. Masses of golden-yellow flowers are produced in open inflorescences in response to moisture during spring and summer.


Native to the Monte Desert of northwestern Argentina where it occurs on rocky slopes as well as in alluvial soils of valleys. The plants thrive in very arid habitats.


The plants may be useful for erosion control.


Leafless senna is not currently available from nurseries. The unarmed, leafless, green stems and showy flowers are attractive. It can be planted as an informal hedge. The stems branch irregularly to form a spreading mound that may be open or relatively densely branched. This species is extremely drought-tolerant once established and survives in areas that receive as little as 4 in (100 mm) of yearly rainfall. Plants are hardy to at least 16° F (-9° C). Litter is minimal.