Common Name bladder senna
Moisture dry to mesic
Nitrogen Fixer Yes
Colutea arborescens is a species of leguminous shrub known by the common name bladder senna. It is native to Europe and North Africa, but it is known on other continents where it is grown as an ornamental and used in landscaping for erosion control. It is also known in the wild as an occasionally weedy escapee from cultivation. The shrub takes a rounded form and has many branches covered in deciduous leaves. The leaves are made up of many pairs of slightly hairy oval-shaped leaflets, each up to about 3 centimeters long. The inflorescence is a raceme of generally pea-like yellow flowers about 3 centimeters long. The fruit is an inflated bladdery pod which dries to a papery texture. It is 2 to 3 centimeters long and contains many seeds.
The plants have an extensive root system and are used to stabilize banks and prevent soil erosion. Can be grown as a hedge. It's Nitrogen fixing ability makes it a useful addition in perennial cropping & forest garden scenarios.
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 seeds are emetic, and are also toxic.