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Low rattlebox
Crotalaria pumila
Fabaceae


General Landscape Uses:

Wildflower and rock gardens.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

A frequent understory wildlflower in open coastal area; rarer inland.
Availability:
Grown by enthusiasts.
Description:
Small creeping herb with attractive clusters of yellow flowers.
Dimensions:
Typically 3-6 inches tall. Spreading and forming small, open patches.
Growth Rate:
Fast.
Range:
Eastern peninsular Florida from the Monroe County Keys north to Brevard County; West Indies, southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America; perhaps escaped from cultivation in Sarasota County and elsewhere. Very rare in the Monroe County Keys.
Habitats:
Pinelands, beach dunes and coastal thickets.
Soils:
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, without humus.
Nutritional Requirements:
Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Secondary line; tolerates significant salt wind without injury, but usually is somewhat protected.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun.
Flower Color:
Yellow with red stripes.
Flower Characteristics:
Showy clusters.
Flowering Season:
All year.
Fruit:
Brown inflated pod (legume). Seeds "rattle" when the fruit is ripe.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed.
Comments:
A good plant for open, disturbed sites near the coast.


 


Keith A. Bradley
James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Florida
Roger L. Hammer
George D. Gann