Yellow Rattlebox - Showy Rattlebox
Crotalaria spectabilis
Fabaceae (Pea) Family


The plants are upright, smooth to hairy annuals with a taproot. Its preferred habitat is roadsides and waste places. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

The leaves are alternate on the stem, consisting of one whole part, oval in form to several times longer than broad, no teeth and no lobes. The leaf base is wedge-shaped or graduating to a narrow point.

The flowers are terminal racemes. The calyx is 5-lobed, 5 bright yellow to yellow-orange petals. calyx is five lobed; five petals, bright yellow to yellow-orange. Flowers occur in the summer.

Fruit is legume

When the pods are dry and mature the pea-like seeds rattle in the shell, sounding much like the rattles of a snake. In a large field of crotolaria it is not unusual to hear a humming, vibrating noise made by the rattling. Wheat farmers are cautious about eliminating the seeds from corn and wheat as a broker will knock down the selling price of the grain if crotolaria is in the mix. The presence of crotolaria seeds may render an inferior product.

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