Candle bush- দাদ মর্দন

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Common name:

Candle bush, Ringworm shrub, Dadmurdan

Botanical name:

Senna alata ,

 Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)

Synonyms: Cassia alata


A  very fast growing perennial medicinal shrub, as well as an ornamental flowering plants in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. It also known as a Candelabra Bush, Empress Candle Plant, Ringworm Tree or candletree. A remarkable species of Senna, it was sometimes separated in its own genus, Herpetica

Native to  S. America but now pantropical. A weed, but also purposely planted. and can be found in diverse habitats. In the tropics it grows up to an altitude of 1,200 meters. In Bangladesh it found throughout the country(less frequent) in open and waste places . Normally grows Forests and forest edges, humid ravines, riverbanks, wood- and grassland.  This short-lived shrub grows best in sunny locations on moist soils and forms dense thickets where invasive.  The large leaves shade out most native plants so that species richness is strongly reduced under canopies of this shrub.  The plant is not nitrogen-fixing.  Seedlings establish and extensive root system in the first year and compete for space and nutrients.  The plant is also a significant agricultural weed. Prefers open areas and sunlight.  Often forms thickets.  Often grown as an ornamental.  Particularly aggressive in areas where there is a high water table. Candle Bush is troublesome in pastureland as it spreads rapidly and livestock does not eat it.

The shrub stands 3–4 m tall, with leaves 50–80 cm long. The inflorescence looks like a yellow candle before the individual blossoms open. The large leaves are bilateral – symetrical opposed and fold together at night. The fruit shaped like a straight pod is up to 25 cm long .

The seed pods are nearly straight, dark brown or nearly black, about 15 cm long and 15 mm wide. On both sides of the pods there is a wing that runs the length of the pod. Pods contains 50 to 60 flattened, triangular seeds.

Cassia alata is easy to grow from seed. Normally Its seed are distributed by water or animals. The seeds may also be sown directly or started in a nursery.

Flowering and Fruiting : September – January.


 Flowers are pollinated by carpenter bees(Xylocopa sp) that visit for pollen. Caterpillers of  Emigrant butterflies(Catopsila sp) feed on this plant


The leaves contain chrysophanic acid. The leaves are reported to be sudorific, diuretic and purgative, being used in the same manner as senna. The leaves are commonly used for ringworm and other skin diseases. The leaves in decoction are used to treat bronchitis and asthma.The plant is also used for Goiter, Hook worm infestation. Because of it’s anti-fungal properties, it is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos, and lotions in the Philippines.


Photo: Capt.Kawsar Mostafa

Reference :

1.Traditional Uses of Ethnomedicinal Plants of the Chittagong Hill Tracts – Bangladesh National Harbarium

2. Prokiti Somogra – Prof. Dizen Sharma

3. Tropical Garden Plants –Horticulture and Allied Publication, Kolkata

4. Common Indian Wild Flower – BNHS



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