Sicklepod is a short-lived undershrub growing to up to 2.5 m tall, but usually less than 2 m in height. The lower stems often sprawl along the ground in open areas. Plants produce numerous, branched, sprawling stems that are 1.5-2 m long. These stems are usually velvet-hairy when young, but become mostly hairless with age. The compound leaves are borne on relatively short stalks 1.5-2.0 cm long. They have two or three pairs of leaflets (1.7-6.5 cm long and 1-4 cm wide), with those further from the leaf stalk usually being larger. The leaflets are egg-shaped in outline with the narrower end attached to the stalk (obovate) and have rounded tips. There is a small elongated gland 1-3 mm long located on the main leaf axis between the lowest pair of leaflets (occasionally also between the second pair of leaflets as well). The yellow flowers, 1.0-1.5 cm across, are borne on stalks 7-28 mm long. These flowers usually occur in pairs in the leaf forks and are mostly located near the tips of the branches. They have five green sepals, 5.5-9.5 mm long, and five yellow or pale yellow petals 8-15 mm long. Each flower also has seven fertile stamens with anthers 3-5 mm long, that have a short narrow beak on one end. The fruit is a slender, strongly curved downwards pod, 6-18 cm long and 2-6 mm wide, that is almost cylindrical in cross-section, sometimes slightly flattened or four-angled. Sicklepod is a native to tropical South America but has become widespread throughout the tropics and subtropics.
Plants succeed in the tropics and subtropics. Prefers a deep, well-drained, moderately fertile sandy loam and a position in full sun. The plant can spread freely and it is considered to be a weed in many parts of the world - for example, an estimated 600,000 ha of land are infested with it in Queensland (Australia). Sicklepod is a short-day plant, but exact light requirements for flower initiation differ by provenance. It is self-pollinating and inter-specific crosses have not yielded viable seed.
The leaves are anthelmintic, laxative and poultice.
They are used to rid the body of parasites and as a treatment against vomiting and stomach-ache.
Externally, they are used to treat skin infections, sores, ulcers and insect bites.
A decoction of the leaves is used to treat eye complaints.
The laxative properties of Senna species are attributed to anthraquinone.