Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Colutea arborescens L.

Fully-hardy, vigorous shrub with pinnate leaves composed of 5-6 pairs of broadly elliptic leaflets and racemes of 3-8 yellow, pea-like flowers in summer, followed by green, then translucent, seed pods.  To 3m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The Bladder Senna, a native of the South of France and Italy, produces a profusion of bloom from June to August, when its inflated pods please from the singularity of their appearance; on these accounts, it is one of the most common flowering shrubs cultivated in gardens and plantations.’  [BM t.81/1789].  Introduced to England in the 16th century. ‘The leaves of the bladder-senna are used to adulterate the Senna of the druggists.’  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.337/1843].


Published Dec 13, 2009 - 04:11 PM | Last updated Jul 18, 2010 - 05:02 PM

The figure shows pinnate leaves, bright yellow pea flowers and bladder-like legumes.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine BM t.81, 1789.

Colutea arborescens L. | BM t.81/1789 | BHL

Family Fabaceae
Region of origin

Southern Europe

Common Name

Bladder senna

Name in the Camden Park Record

Colutea arborescens - Bladder senna

Confidence level high