Senna septemtrionalis

Buttercup bush

Family: Fabaceae

Origin: Mexico, Central America

Yellow flowers of the buttercup bush.
The stem is rough but hairless.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
  • Whole region — Sustained control

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Shrub < 2 m tall. Leaves are pinnate. Flowers are yellow and borne in December – June. Seed pods are < 10 cm long and borne in December – August.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell buttercup bush within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant buttercup bush within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any buttercup bush on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Disturbed sites, forest canopy gaps, scrub, riparian and forest margins, plantations, roadsides, gardens.


Seeds dispersed by wind, gravity, water. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste, movement of contaminated soil, deliberate plantings.

Impact on environment

Dominates open, disturbed sites such as riparian margins, forest edges and scrub and excludes native vegetation.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel.

Basic Growsafe certified: Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 2g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of the buttercup bush flower and leaves.
Buttercup bush leaves have a glossy green upper surface and paler green underside.
The buttercup bush with long black seeds.
The fruit is green cylindrical pods, when mature they turn brown.
Photo credit: Rod Smart