Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Showy Rattlebox (Crotolaria spectabilis)

August 17th, 2012. We spotted Showy Rattlebox (Crotolaria spectabilis) plants – we didn’t know what they were at the time - blooming on the south side of GA-16 east of Sparta in Hancock County. GA-16 is a major highway crossing the county from east to west and it’s sometimes difficult to pull off the road and park, particularly if the traffic is heavy. We lucked out with light traffic and found a convenient place to park. The plants were growing at the edge of pine woods.

A view of the plants from the edge of the road

A little closer

Close to the edge of the woods. The plants were 4 to 5 feet tall.

The leaves. At first glance the flowers looked like baptisias but the leaves were quite different, arranged singly compared with the 3-leaf arrangement of Baptisia sp.

The top of the flower stalk.

A closer view


Closer views of individual flowers.

Another close view.

Developing seed pods. These are reminiscent of baptisia seedpods.

Green seed pods, up close, and...

ripening seed pods.

Crotolaria spectabilis (Showy Rattlebox) is a native of the ‘Old World Tropics.’ In the United States it’s found in states southeast of a line from Virginia to Illinois and southwest to Texas. In Georgia, it’s found in many counties throughout the state. Interestingly it has not been documented from Hancock County, Georgia.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
- Name that Plant: Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Crotolaria spectabilis (Showy Rattlebox)
- Missouri Plants: Crotolaria spectabilis

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Crotolaria spectabilis (Showy Rattlebox)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Crotolaria spectabilis

No comments: