Plant DetailShow Menu

Crotalaria

Phonetic Spelling
kroh-tah-LAR-ee-ah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Over 600 species of the genus Crotalaria or rattlebox exist worldwide, with the majority of them native to Africa, though there are some native to the United States.  In their native habitat, they can be found in damp grasslands, floodplains, and along the edges of rivers, swamps, and other wet locations.  Dry locations include roadsides and open fields.  

The common names all refer to the rattling sound made by the seeds inside the pod-like fruit when shaken.  It was first introduced into the US as a soil builder, its nitrogen fixing bacteria will improve the quality of the soil.  Its botanical name comes from an Ancient Greek word that translates to castanet, again referring to the sound the dried seeds make.  

Depending on its location, it grows as an annual or perennial herb.  It has alternate, simple, or divided leaves and yellow flowers on long terminal or axillary clusters, each being 5-parted and pea-like.  The fruit is an inflated, subcylindric pod with many seeds.

Native varieties include Crotalaria pumila and Crotalaria rotundifolia.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  The seeds from this plant are toxic to livestock.  The self seeding by this plant can be weedy and aggressive in the surrounding locations.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
    Crotalaria albida Crotalaria albida
  • Crotalaria incana
    Common name - Shake Shake or Velvety Rattlebox
  • Crotalaria juncea
    Common name - Sunn hemp
  • Crotalaria lanceolata
    Common name - Lanceleaf Rattlebox
  • Crotalaria longirostrata
    Common name - Longbeak rattlebox
  • Crotalaria pallida
    Common name - Smooth Crotalaria
  • Crotalaria pallida var. obovata
    Common name - Smooth Rattlebox
  • Crotalaria pumila
    Native - Common name - Low Rattlebox
  • Crotalaria retusa
    Common name - leaf rattlepod
  • Crotalaria rotundifolia
    Native - Common name - Rabbitbells
  • Crotalaria spectabilis Form in bloom (Monroe County, NY)-Early Fall
    Common name - Showy Rattlebox
  • Crotalaria tetragona
    Edible variety
Crotalaria albida, Crotalaria incana, Crotalaria juncea, Crotalaria lanceolata, Crotalaria longirostrata, Crotalaria pallida, Crotalaria pallida var. obovata, Crotalaria pumila, Crotalaria retusa, Crotalaria rotundifolia, Crotalaria spectabilis, Crotalaria tetragona
Tags:
#poisonous#weedy#toxic#high maintenance#fast growing#aggressive#NC native#self-seeding#larval host plant#moth larvae#butterflies#weed#flowering
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
    Crotalaria albida Crotalaria albida
  • Crotalaria incana
    Common name - Shake Shake or Velvety Rattlebox
  • Crotalaria juncea
    Common name - Sunn hemp
  • Crotalaria lanceolata
    Common name - Lanceleaf Rattlebox
  • Crotalaria longirostrata
    Common name - Longbeak rattlebox
  • Crotalaria pallida
    Common name - Smooth Crotalaria
  • Crotalaria pallida var. obovata
    Common name - Smooth Rattlebox
  • Crotalaria pumila
    Native - Common name - Low Rattlebox
  • Crotalaria retusa
    Common name - leaf rattlepod
  • Crotalaria rotundifolia
    Native - Common name - Rabbitbells
  • Crotalaria spectabilis Form in bloom (Monroe County, NY)-Early Fall
    Common name - Showy Rattlebox
  • Crotalaria tetragona
    Edible variety
Crotalaria albida, Crotalaria incana, Crotalaria juncea, Crotalaria lanceolata, Crotalaria longirostrata, Crotalaria pallida, Crotalaria pallida var. obovata, Crotalaria pumila, Crotalaria retusa, Crotalaria rotundifolia, Crotalaria spectabilis, Crotalaria tetragona
Tags:
#poisonous#weedy#toxic#high maintenance#fast growing#aggressive#NC native#self-seeding#larval host plant#moth larvae#butterflies#weed#flowering
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Crotalaria
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Weed
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropics & Subtropics
    Distribution:
    Tropical America and US
    Wildlife Value:
    Serves as a host plant for the larvae of several moths and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Larval Host
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Weed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits are an inflated, subcylindric pod with up to 20 seeds that rattle hence the common name.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    fused petals
    Flower Description:
    Yellow on long terminal or axillary clusters, each 5-parted and pea-likefus
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, or divided leaves
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Toxic only if large quantities are eaten. Lower blood pressure and heart beat, stomach irritation.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Seeds