Senna alata (L.) Roxb

Leguminosae



This species is widespread in the Philippines in disturbed areas in low and middle altitudes. It is also cultivated for its ornamental and medicinal properties. ‘Akapulko’ is pantropic in distribution, originally introduced from tropical America.

‘Akapulko’ is one of the medicinally important plants in the Philippines. It has been used to cure poisonous bites and venereal eruptions. The leaves are antiherpetic, purgative, and cure for ringworm and other skin diseases. A decoction of the leaves and flowers is used as expectorant for bronchitis, asthma, and also as a mouthwash in stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth). The seeds are also used as vermifuge. The bioactive substances in ‘akapulko’ include chrysophamic acid and tannin found in the leaves and oxymethyl anthraquinone in fruits.

Shrub, up to 3 m or more tall. The leaves are pinnate, up to 60 cm long. The leaflets are 16 to 28, oblong, 5 to 15 cm long, rounded having a short point at the apex. The terminal and axillary inflorescences are up to 50 cm long. The flowers are yellow, about 4 cm in diameter, and are at the axils of yellow, oblong concave bracts which are 2.5 to 3 cm long. The pod is rather straight, dark brown or black when ripe, about 15 x 15 cm wide. The pods are winged on both sides, running their entire length, each containing 50 to 60 seeds.


This page was last modified Monday, February 10, 2014
National Museum of the Philippines
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