Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Sesbania herbacea, Bigpod Sesbania

Sesbania herbacea, Bigpod Sesbania Sesbania herbacea, Bigpod Sesbania Sesbania herbacea, Bigpod Sesbania

Scientific Name: Sesbania herbacea
Common Name: Bigpod Sesbania
Also Called: Big-pod Sesbania, Big-podded Sesbania, Coffee Bean, Coffeeweed, Colorado River Hemp, Colorado River-hemp, Danglepod, Hemp Sesbania, Long-pod Sesban, Long-pod Sesbania, Long-podded Sesban, Peatree, Tall Indigo, Wild Hempsesbania, Wild Hemp-sesbania (Spanish: Baiquillo, Baiguiyo)
Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae Family
Synonyms: (Darwinia exaltata, Sesban emerus, Sesbania emerus, Sesban exaltatus, Sesbania exaltata, Sesbania macrocarpa, Sesbania sesban)
Status: Native and Introduced.
Duration: Annual, perennial;
Size: Up to 12 feet.
Growth Form: Subshrub, forb/herb; semi-woody after 1st year, stems glabrous branches freely wide-spread.
Leaves: Green, bright green; alternate, large leaves up to 1 foot long, pinnately compound, up to (40) 80 leaflets, oblong
Flower Color: Yellow or yellow-orange with flecks of purple or brown; pea-like flower, few flowers (2 to 6) on short stalks from axillary raceme, fruit a linear legume.
Flowering Season: August to October in Arizona, earlier elsewhere March.
Elevation: Up to 1,500 or more (4,000 feet).

Habitat Preferences: Around irrigation ditches and year-round streams.

Recorded Range: South central United States and southwest states; AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NY, OK, PA, S , TN, TX and VA. In Arizona Bigpod Sesbania is found in the northwest, southwest and central Arizona. Although listed as a native in North America, Bigpod Sesbania is possibly native only the southeastern states where moisture is abundant and introduced elsewhere. Also native throughout Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Sesbania herbacea.

U.S. Weed Information: Considered a weed in Arizona.

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Sesbania herbacea is listed as a Noxious Weed by the State of Arkansas Sesbania exaltata, Tall Indigo, Coffee Bean, Noxious Weed. Plants included here are invasive or noxious.

Wetland Indicator: In North America Sesbania herbacea has the following wetland designations; Arid West, FACW; Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, FACW; Eastern Mountains and Piedmont, FAC; Great Plains, FACW; Midwest, FACW; Northcentral & Northeast, FACW; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FACW.
FACW, Facultative Wetland, usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands
FAC, Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands

Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: 16 species in Sesbania in the United States. 1 species in Arizona.

The Plant List includes 137 scientific plant names of species rank for the genus Sesbania. Of these 55 are accepted species names.

Comments: Bigpod Sesbania is listed as a native species in the United States and also considered an invasive species in certain locations including Arizona. Populations exist along the Colorado River and isolated populations exist along the Lower Gila River.

In the past Bigpod Sesbania has been used as a soil-improvement crop on farms in the southwest. It is a fiber plant and produces strong threads and have apparently been used by Southwest Arizona Native Americans for nets and fish lines (Arizona Flora).

Date Profile Completed: 09/09/2015, updated format 10/12/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California, as Sesbania macrocarpa.
SAREP Cover crops; Agricultural Sustainability Institute,
Thomas J. Rosatti, 2013. Sesbania, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Sep 9 2015
Wikipedia contributors, 'Sesbania herbacea', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 April 2013, 11:31 UTC, [accessed 9 September 2015]
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/09/2015).
Kitty F.Parker, 1972; An Illustrated Guide to Arizona Weeds; The University of Arizona Press