, commonly known as spanish gold or purple sesban, is a short-lived perennial shrub or small tree that is a widely used ornamental in tropical or semi-tropical regions of the world. S. punicea
is native to South America, and produces hanging clusters of bright red and orange flowers and winged fruit. It has long, dark brown seed pods which make a rattling sound when shaken. S. punicea
has drooping, dark green leaves with oblong leaflets that end in tiny, pointed tips. S. punicea
is a serious weed in South Africa, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe and considered an invasive weed in wetlands in Florida, Texas and Georgia. It has also been found in the central valley of California. It tends to favor moist, wet environments and is often found in dense thickets along river and stream banks and wetlands. S. punicea
can produce thousands of seeds and fully mature in one year. The seeds have a high germination rate and are able to remain dormant for several years in the soil.
All parts of S. punicea
contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which cause pyrrolizidine alkaloid toxicity
in horses if ingested in large enough quantities.