Lance-leaf Rattlebox
Crotalaria lanceolata - E. Meyers
Fabaceae (Bean) Family

Lance-leaf Rattlebox is an introduced herbaceous annual native to tropical Africa. In this area it is found in fields, on roadsides, in pastures, and in other disturbed or rural sites. It is an annual with a taproot. The stems are erect, 2-4 feet in height, ribbed, branched above the middle, green in color, and downy. The plant is sometimes planted as a green manure or cover crop. Although no specific information is available on this species, many Crotalaria species contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids and are toxic if consumed.

The leaves are alternate, petiolate, and trifoliate; leaflets are lanceolate to linear in outline, entire, and pubescent below.

Flowers are produced in long many-flowered racemes opposite a leaf. They often appear terminal or axillary. Individual flowers are pedicellate and resemble a butterfly. The corolla is yellow and red- or orange-suffused, especially as they age.

Fruit is a black, downy, cylindrical legume that is scarcely inflated.

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