Sunn hemp Crotalaria juncea, copyright A16898.

Belongs within: Crotalarieae.

Crotalaria, rattlepods, is a pantropical genus of leguminous herbs and shrubs in which the seeds become loose within their pod as they mature. The loose seeds inspire both the vernacular name of ‘rattlepod’ and the genus name which derives from the Greek crotalon meaning ‘rattle’.

Members of the genus include C. juncea, sunn hemp or brown hemp, which is grown in tropical and subtropical regions as a source of fibre for rope-making, as well as for green manure or fodder. The showy rattlepod C. spectabilis is a native of southern Asia that has been widely introduced to other parts of the world as a green manure, subsequently becoming regarded as an agricultural pest in many of these regions.

Characters (from New South Wales Flora Online): Herbs and shrubs, annuals and perennials. Leaves alternate, simple, 1-foliolate or palmately compound with 3–7 leaflets; leaflets often with translucent glands; stipulate; stipels absent. Flowers usually in terminal racemes, sometimes leaf opposed or rarely axillary; bracteate. Calyx 5-toothed, more or less equal, sometimes 2-lipped with upper 2 teeth more or less united and lower 3 teeth more or less united. Corolla venation sometimes dark; standard more or less circular or ovate, sometimes pubescent outside; wings shorter than standard, with a patch of ruffles in rows; keel curved to 90°, ciliate, sometimes incurved, beak tip sometimes twisting spirally. Stamen monadelphous, sheath split on upper side; anthers alternately long and basifixed and short and dorsifixed. Ovary 2-ovuled; style incurved or bent, longitudinal line of hairs on inside; stigma terminal. Pods inflated, dehiscence sometimes incomplete; seeds more or less reniform, with or without an aril, usually smooth, funicles slender.

|--C. saltianaCP13
`--+--C. incanaCP13
`--+--C. junceaCP13
`--C. pumilaCP13

Crotalaria incertae sedis:
C. alataB00
C. albidaP03
C. aureaCV06
C. axillarisC55
C. beddomeanaM03
C. brevisLK14
C. browneiC55
C. burhiaPP07
C. calycinaLK14
C. colorataCV06
C. crispataM99
C. cunninghamiiB00
C. dissitifloraM99
C. eremaeaB00
C. goreensisB00
C. humifusaLK14
C. kurtiiCV06
C. laburnifoliaLK14
C. lunataS00
C. maypurensisCP13
C. medicagineaLK14
|--C. m. var. medicagineaLK14
`--C. m. var. neglectaLK14
C. mitchelliiB00
C. montanaLK14
|--C. m. var. montanaLK14
`--C. m. var. angustifoliaLK14
C. mucronataB00
C. mysorensisLK14
C. novae-hollandiaeB12
|--C. n. ssp. novae-hollandiaeLK14
`--C. n. ssp. crassipesLK14
C. pallidaB00
C. podocarpaAB03
C. prostrataLK14
C. quinquefoliaLK14
C. ramosissimaLK14
C. retusaLK14
C. saharaeCS77
C. sessilifloraW92
C. spectabilis Roth 1821 [incl. C. sericea Retz. 1789 non Burm. 1768]SY72
C. striataT-W89
C. ulbrichiana Harms 1917H17
C. verrucosaLK14
C. versicolorH17
C. subsect. OliganthaeH17
|--C. rangei Harms 1917H17
`--C. sericifoliaH17
C. (sect. EucrotalariaH17
| i. s.: C. intermediaH17
| C. pallidicaulis Harms 1917H17
| C. phylloloba Harms 1917H17
| C. platycalyxH17
`--C. ser. GrandifloraeH17
|--C. adolfi Harms 1917H17
`--C. mildbraediiH17
C. sect. SimplicifoliaeH17
|--C. cylindrostachysH17
`--C. iringana Harms 1917H17
C. sect. SphaerocarpaeH17
|--C. adenocarpoidesH17
|--C. endlichii Harms 1917H17
|--C. kyimbilae Harms 1917H17
|--C. leptopoda Harms 1917H17
|--C. leucotrichaH17
|--C. pilulicarpaH17
|--C. poliochlora Harms 1917H17
`--C. sphaerocarpaH17
C. sect. Tetralobocalyx Harms 1917H17
`--C. (sect. *T.) nigricans Bak. in Oliv. 1871H17

*Type species of generic name indicated


[AB03] Ainouche, A., R. J. Bayer, P. Cubas & M.-T. Misset. 2003. Phylogenetic relationships within tribe Genisteae (Papilionoideae) with special reference to genus Ulex. In: Klitgaard, B. B., & A. Bruneau (eds) Advances in Legume Systematics vol. 10. Higher Level Systematics pp. 239–252. Royal Botanic Gardens: Kew.

[B00] Braby, M. F. 2000. Butterflies of Australia: their identification, biology and distribution vol. 2. CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood (Victoria).

[B12] Braby, M. F. 2012. The butterflies of El Questro Wilderness Park, with remarks on the taxonomy of the Kimberley fauna, Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 27 (2): 161–175.

[C55] Candolle, A. de. 1855. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[CP13] Cardoso, D., R. T. Pennington, L. P. de Queiroz, J. S. Boatwright, B.-E. Van Wyk, M. F. Wojciechowski & M. Lavin. 2013. Reconstructing the deep-branching relationships of the papilionoid legumes. South African Journal of Botany 89: 58–75.

[CS77] Cramp, S., & K. E. L. Simmons (eds) 1977. Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palaearctic vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

[CV06] Craven, P., & P. Vorster. 2006. Patterns of plant diversity and endemism in Namibia. Bothalia 36 (2): 175–189.

[H17] Harms, H. 1917. Leguminosae africanae. IX. Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie 54: 379–392.

[LK14] Lyons, M. N., G. J. Keighery, L. A. Gibson & T. Handasyde. 2014. Flora and vegetation communities of selected islands off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 81: 205–244.

[M03] Matthew, K. M. 2003. An integrated programme for local Floras, conservation research and environmental awareness generation in south India. Telopea 10 (1): 73–80.

[M99] Matthews, M. 1999. Heliothine Moths of Australia: A guide to bollworms and related noctuid groups. CSIRO Publishing.

[PP07] Pandey, R. P., & P. M. Padhye. 2007. Studies on phytodiversity of Arid Machia Safari Park-Kailana in Jodhpur (Rajasthan). Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 49: 15–78.

[P03] Paul, T. K. 2003. Botanical observations on the Purulia pumped storage hydropower project area, Bagmundi Hills, Purulia district, West Bengal. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 45: 121–142.

[SY72] Shah, G. L., & D. V. Yogi. 1972. Nomenclatural changes in some Bombay plants—IV. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 69 (2): 444–449.

[S00] Siddiqi, M. R. 2000. Tylenchida: Parasites of plants and insects 2nd ed. CABI Publishing: Wallingford (UK).

[T-W89] Tenison-Woods, J. E. 1889. On the vegetation of Malaysia. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 4 (1): 9–106, pls 1–9.

[W92] Wilson, E. O. 1992. The Diversity of Life. Harvard University Press: Belknap (USA).

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