Common Names: Low Rattle Box
Habit Crotalaria pumila
grows as a perennial as a ground cover or erect as a tall herb to 40
cm in height. The trifoliate leaves are arranged alternately with
small stipules at the petiole base. The leaflets are obovate with a
retuse apex and entire margin.
The zygomorphic flowers are terminal or
axillary in groups of 1-5 flowers. The calyx 5 are partially fused
green sepals forming a tube with the sepal lobes the same length as
the tube. The corolla has 5 orangish-yellow petals, the upper
enlarged to form the banner and the lower 2 fused to form the keel.
There are 10 diadelphous stamens. The ovary is superior and has a
single locule with numerous seeds. The fruit is a slightly
pubescent, yellowish legume that becomes inflated and is up to 3 cm
in length at maturity. Before dehiscence the seeds become loose
within the legume and make a rattling sound.
Habitat: Crotalaria pumila
grows in human disturbed areas such as old fields, yards roadsides as
well as in Pine Woodlands.
Distribution in Bahamas/Globally:
Crotalaria pumila occurs in all island groups within the Bahamian
Archipelago as well as the southern United States, the entire
Caribbean region, and Mexico south to South America.
Crotalaria sp. has been used to treat colds in the
Bahamas. Crotalaria species are very toxic and C. retusa
has been known to create a condition in livestock called walking
disease in which the animalz can walk but are unable to turn.