Colutea arborescens ‘Variegata’ – Bladder Senna –

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Colutea – Bladder Senna –

There are about 30 species of deciduous shrubs, sometimes small trees, in this genus. They occur in dry soils in woodland and thickets, from Southern Europe, Eastern Africa, Turkey, Iran, Western and Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Himalayas. They are grown for their pinnate or trifoliate leaves, with smooth edged, usually very small, elliptic to obovate leaflets, their pea like, soft shaded yellow to coppery orange, spring to autumn borne flowers, held in few flowered, axillary, long stalked racemes and their unusually, inflated colored, translucent, glossy or hairy, bladder-like pods. Colulteas are suitable for a shrub border, those described here are useful for an exposed site or dry, sunny bank. They tolerate poor, dry soils, coastal conditions, and urban pollution. Some may become weedy. Seeds may cause mild stomach upset if ingested.

Grow in moderately fertile, well drained soil in full sun.

Prone to powdery mildew, rust, and root rot.

C. arborescens ‘Variegata’ – This fast growing, deciduous, open shrub (rarely tree like) grows 10-15′ feet tall and 10′ feet wide. It produces pinnate, pale green leaves, to 6″ long, with 5-7 pairs of broadly elliptic to ovate leaflets with cream edges. Throughout summer it bears 3-8 orange-red or yellow, pea like flowers, to 3/4″ long, in racemes to 5″ long, followed by green, then translucent seed pods, to 3″ long.

Zones 6-9