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Useful Tropical Plants

Crotalaria cunninghamii

R.Br.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Birdflower Rattlepod

Crotalaria cunninghamii
Drawing of the flowers and seedpod
Photograph by: W.Fitch, Curtis' Botanical Magazine Vol 95
Public domain

General Information

Crotalaria cunninghamii is a shrub growing 1 - 2 metres tall[
365
Title
Flora of New South Wales
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/floraonline.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource giving a brief botanical description of all the native plants of New South Wales, their habitat and range, together with diagrams and photographs of the plants.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of fibre. The fibre is of high quality and has potential for commercial production[
1343
Title
Crotalaria L. (Fabaceae: Faboideae) in continental Southeast Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 320 (1): 001-074
Author
Ninkaew S.; Balslev H.; Pornpongrungrueng P.; Chantaranothai
Publisher
 
Year
2017
ISBN
978-1-77670-218-3
Description
 
]. The plant is also grown as an ornamental in gardens, valued especially for its large, coloured flowers[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
There are no major threats known to this species, however, the area where this species occurs is threatened by habitat degradation. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

No specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, but many members of this genus are known to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, the most potent of which in this genus are monocrotaline, retrorsine and retronecine[
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
]. 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[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Botanical References


Range

Australia - Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria

Habitat

Sandy soils in shrubland, grassland or savannah woodland; usually on desert dunes, sandplains and drainage lines[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. Usually in mulga communities or on unstable sand dunes in New South Wales[
365
Title
Flora of New South Wales
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/floraonline.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource giving a brief botanical description of all the native plants of New South Wales, their habitat and range, together with diagrams and photographs of the plants.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitShrub
Height1.50 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Crotalaria cunninghamii is a plant of arid and semi-arid regions of Australia from the warm temperate zone to the tropics.
Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil, growing in the wild on sandy soils[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
397
Title
Australian Native Plants Society
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://anpsa.org.au/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on Australian plants. Good photographs, brief description and information on uses, habitat, range, cultivation etc.
].
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[
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The sap from the leaves is used traditionally to treat swellings on the body and as an eyewash to treat eye infections[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
397
Title
Australian Native Plants Society
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://anpsa.org.au/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on Australian plants. Good photographs, brief description and information on uses, habitat, range, cultivation etc.
].

Other Uses

The stems are a source of fibre. This was used traditionally by the Aboriginal Australians for cords and for making sandals to protect them from the hot desert sand[
1343
Title
Crotalaria L. (Fabaceae: Faboideae) in continental Southeast Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 320 (1): 001-074
Author
Ninkaew S.; Balslev H.; Pornpongrungrueng P.; Chantaranothai
Publisher
 
Year
2017
ISBN
978-1-77670-218-3
Description
 
].
The fibre is similar in quality to that obtained from Crotalaria juncea[
1343
Title
Crotalaria L. (Fabaceae: Faboideae) in continental Southeast Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 320 (1): 001-074
Author
Ninkaew S.; Balslev H.; Pornpongrungrueng P.; Chantaranothai
Publisher
 
Year
2017
ISBN
978-1-77670-218-3
Description
 
], which is a valuable, high quality, strong fibre that is grown on a commercial basis and used to make twine and cord; canvas and fishing nets; and paper and pulp[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination[
397
Title
Australian Native Plants Society
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://anpsa.org.au/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on Australian plants. Good photographs, brief description and information on uses, habitat, range, cultivation etc.
]. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.
Cuttings
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-07-20. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Crotalaria+cunninghamii>

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