Food for Sulfurs


desert senna
senna covesii

  • PLANTS 1' TALL and wide

  • PERENNIAL subshrub

  • moderate to low water (terrace to top zones)


  • HARDY TO ABOUT low 20sº F

  • NECTAR PLANT FOR BUTTERFLIES AND INSECTS and larval food plant for sulfurs

Desert senna (Senna covesii) is a tough little plant that is generous with its seedlings, growing in soils that many other plants could not tolerate. Plants grow about 1.5-2 feet tall and wide, are mostly evergreen--unless drought or severe cold hits them; they go dormant in very dry locations. They are hardy to at least the low 20sº F.

Bright yellow flowers usually emerge in March and keep going until October (or longer if warm and watered). This plant is a carefree plant that needs little maintenance and will reseed throughout the landscape. Persistent seed pods follow the flowers that many find attractive but are easily removed if unwanted. 

Birds eat the seeds, many butterflies and native bees love the flowers, and the plant is a host for sulfur butterflies. 

Katherine Gierlach