Herb: Bladder Senna

Latin name: Colutea arborescens

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Bladder Senna:

The leaves are diuretic and purgative. The leaves are sometimes used as a substitute for senna as a laxative, though they are much milder in their action. The plant is rather unreliable when used medicinally so is rarely employed in herbalism. The seeds are emetic. They are also toxic.

Description of the plant:


3.6 m
(12 feet)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Open woods, roadsides, railway banks etc, often on calcareous soils.

Other uses of Bladder Senna:

The plants have an extensive root system and are used to stabilize banks and prevent soil erosion. Can be grown as a hedge.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - pre-soak for 24 hours in hot water and sow late winter in a greenhouse. Scarification can help speed up the germination process. Germination can be slow and erratic, though treated seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 20C. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Cuttings are not very long-lived.

Cultivation of Bladder Senna:

Open woods, roadsides, railway banks etc, often on calcareous soils.

Known hazards of Colutea arborescens:

The seed is poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.