If you like the fragrance of Alyssum (Lobularia maritime), you would love the scent of Feathery Cassia (Senna artemisioides). The sweet honey–like scent of these two plants in bloom are remarkably similar, but they are not even distantly related, other than they are both plants!
My Feathery Cassia has just bloomed, and it will continue to produce numerous, buttercup-shaped flowers until early May. Then, leguminous pods form, remain on the plant for a few months, and then drop off unless removed by pruning or shearing. I usually pick them off by hand, but this year, I’m going to prune because the shrub has over grown and needs sizing down.
This is a great shrub for the low desert. It is drought tolerant, (in fact, if over watered it becomes chlorotic) takes full sun and can withstand 15ºF temperatures. The Feathery Cassia lives about five or six years, and looks good for maybe four of those years. As it ages, it becomes woody, with sparse foliage.
New plants are easy to start from seed, but the seeds must be prepared before planting. Heat water until boiling, turn off heat and drop in the seeds. Soak for two days, and then plant the seeds close to the soil surface. New plants in no time!