Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Cassia leptophylla - Gold Medallion Tree
The Gold Medallion Tree is a small evergreen tree, 10-25 feet. Rounded crown with slightly weeping branches. Commonly used as a street tree. They are very common on 41st Ave.
Leaves alternate, odd pinnately compound, 8-16" long with 20-24 pairs of leaflets, each lanceolate to oblong in shape 1-1-1/2" long and about 1/2" wide, with a slightly pointed tip. Upper surface glossy dark green, lower surface lighter, both surfaces glabrous. This picture is does not do justice to the dark green foliage. As is common on many plants in the legume family, they have a swollen area on the petiole, this one is at the base of the petiole.
Deep yellow flowers 2 to 3" wide in 6 to 8" rounded terminal clusters through July and August. Inflorescence looks like a halo with immature flowers at the center.
Stout grooved twigs, green. Trunk slightly furrowed, brown with some reddish twig. Lacks a terminal bud as you can see, the branch tip just dies back to a lateral bud.
Branching is really clustered, all the branches seem to come out of the main trunk in one place. This one is cabled and braced to keep it from falling apart. Most of the trees I have seen look just like this.
Fruit is not produced in large quantities here but is a legume, 8-16" long, dark green becoming brown. Almost 4 sided. A legume is a fruit with one compartment that when mature is dry and opens on two sutures.
Spent flowers, I almost like these better.
There are lots of trees with pinnately compound leaves, these are even pinnate most of the time, and very dark green. Cant miss it when its in flower. Perhaps Tipuana tipu, or the Rosewood can be mistaken for this. The leaves however are usually odd pinnately compound, softer textured and deciduous, but late in winter. If you go to Portola Drive and 37th you can find both of these, Tipauna on the corner, and Cassia on 37th.
Lots. See above for a good location to see one,
Best looking ones are on 41st. in front of the Verve Coffee Company.