Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Showy Crotalaria Crotalaria spectabilis


enlarge +

Showy Crotalaria - habit
credit: SunshinestateOfMind/CCSA

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Showy Rattlebox

Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family

Description This weed of cropland bears showy yellow flowers on erect, green to purplish-green, sometimes ribbed stems.
Habit: introduced annual herb.
Height: 1.5-6 ft (0.45-1.8 m).
Leaf: alternate, obovate, stalkless, 2-8 in (5-20 cm) long.
Flower: yellow, stalked, to 1 in (25 mm) long; in long terminal spike.
Fruit: inflated pod, cylindrical, 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) long, green becoming brown or black; at maturity, the seeds may detach and rattle in the pod.

Flower August to October.

Habitat Open sites: crop fields, pastures, open forest, roadsides, waste places; also cultivated as an ornamental.

Range Native to south Asia; introduced as a cover crop; escaped and naturalized in Hawaii, Puerto Rica, and southeastern U.S., from Virginia, south to Florida, west to Texas and Oklahoma, northeast to Missouri and Illinois.

Discussion Also called showy rattlebox, rattlebox, rattleweed, cat's bell. Considered weedy or invasive in some areas. Listed as noxious in Arkansas. All parts of the plant, particularly the seeds, are poisonous to livestock.