Crotalaria heterophylla L.f.
Crotalaria quinquefolia is an erect, annual to short-lived perennial plant with stems that can become more or less woody. It grows up to 2 metres tall with few angularly furrowed branches[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of fibre. It is sometimes grown as a green manure and cover crop[
Crotalaria quinquefolia has a very wide distribution in Asia-Pacific and does not face any threats. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Monocrotaline, a pyrrolizidine alkaloid that is present in the seed, is toxic to poultry and occasionally fatal[
Many members of this genus are known to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, the most potent of which in this genus are monocrotaline, retrorsine and retronecine[
]. These alkaloids have a cumulative effect upon the body and, unless concentrations in a plant are high, occasional consumption is generally completely safe. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are derived from amino acids including ornithine. Many of these alkaloids have pronounced hepatic toxicity, but the lungs and other organs may be affected as well. Mutagenic and carcinogenic activities of pyrrolizidine alkaloids have also been reported[
E. Asia - India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, Solomon Isles
Open forest, swampy locations and ruderal sites; at elevations up to 900 metres[
]. A weed of cultivated fields, especially wet rice fields, and moist places[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Plants in this genus generally prefer a sunny position, succeeding in dry to moist, well-drained soils[
Grown as a green manure crop, the plant has escaped from cultivation in some areas. It is considered to be an aggressive weed in Fiji, where it is found along roadsides, in old fields and in waste ground[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
Flowers - steamed and eaten as a vegetable[
The seedpods are used for treating snake and millipede bites[
The leaves, often combined with those of Crotalaria retuse, are taken internally and externally as a treatment for fevers, scabies, impetigo and lung afflictions[
An excellent green manure plant, but it is heavily attacked by pests in Java during the later stages of growth and produces hardly any seed[
]. It is grown as a cover crop and green manure in India and Vietnam[
The bark is a source of fibre[
Seed - sow in situ. Pre-soaking the seed for 12 hours in warm water can help to reduce germination time.
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