Plant Listings

Crotalaria pallida

Crotalaria pallida Aiton

Common Names: Smooth Rattle Box

Family: Fabaceae

Habit: Crotalaria pallida grows as a perennial as a ground cover or erect as a tall herb to 70 cm in height. The stems and petioles are pubescent. The trifoliate leaves are arranged alternately with small deciduous stipules at the petiole base. The leaflets are obovate/elliptic with a mucronate leaf apex and an entire margin. The abaxial leaf surface is minutely pubescent.

The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are terminal or axillary in groups of 1-5 flowers. The calyx 5 are partially fused, pubescent green sepals forming a tube with the sepal lobes the same length as the tube.  The corolla has 5 yellow pubescent petals, the upper enlarged to form the banner (has red lines at base) 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 smooth brown legume that becomes inflated and is up to 2 cm in length at maturity.  Before dehiscence the seeds become loose within the legume and make a rattling sound.

Habitat: Crotalaria pallida grows in Human Altered environments (old fields, yards, roadsides) as well as in Dunes/sandy areas.

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Crotalaria pallida is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago. It is native to Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Asia. It has escaped and is now naturalizing in the Lucayan Archipelago, the entire Caribbean region, and Mexico south to South America as well as the Pacific, and Australia.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Crotalaria pallida is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

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