Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Sicklepod: Cassia obtusifolius

Weed Description:   An invasive summer annual, reaching 1-6 ft in height.  Found throughout the southeastern United states and north to east Kansas, Illinois, and Michigan.
Seedling:   Cotyledons are rounded, much more so than the subsequent egg-shaped leaflets.   Distinctive veins (3-5) also occur on the cotyledons.

Stems:  Erect, branched, and without hairs (glabrous).

Fruit:  Brownish, angular seed are produced in a long (4-8 inches long, 3-5 mm wide), slender, curved seed pod (a legume).

Roots:  Taproot.

Leaves:  Arranged alternately up the stem, and consist of 4-6 leaflets that are arranged oppositely from one another (pinnately compound).  The basal pair of leaflets smallest, terminal pair largest.   Individual leaflets are egg-shaped, with the broadest end above the middle (obovate), 1 to 3 1/2 inches long, 1/2 to 1 inch wide.
Flowers:  Contain yellow petals on stalks that arise between stems and leaves (axillary flowers).


Identifying Characteristics:   Plants with yellow flowers, long narrow seed pod, and pinnately compound leaves with the terminal pair of leaflets the largest.  This weed is similar to Coffee Senna (Cassia occidentalis) in growth habit and appearance, especially during the seedling stage.  However, the leaflets of coffee senna are more numerous and pointed when compared to sicklepod.