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Useful Tropical Plants

Crotalaria retusa

L.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Crotalaria cuneifolia Raf.

Crotalaria hostmannii Steud.

Crotalaria retusifolia Stokes

Crotalaria tunguensis Pires de Lima

Dolichos cuneifolius Forssk.

Lupinus cochinchinensis Lour.

Common Name: Devil Bean

Crotalaria retusa
Close-up of the flower
Photograph by: Alex Popovkin, Bahia, Brazil
Creative Commons License
Crotalaria retusa Crotalaria retusa Crotalaria retusa Crotalaria retusa Crotalaria retusa

General Information

Crotalaria retusa is an erect, annual plant or short-lived perennial with more or less woody stems. It can grow from 60 - 120cm tall[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is sometimes cultivated for the fibre it provides, as a medicinal plant, and is also grown as a green manure crop[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. It is occasionally grown purely as an ornamental, though it is also sometimes considered to be a weed[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Known Hazards

The plant is reported to yield toxins, such as the pyrrolizidine alkaloid monocrotaline, and is said to have poisoned poultry and livestock in Nigeria[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
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

266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
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
 

Range

Pantropical.

Habitat

Coastal grassland, along rivers, waste places and fields, at elevations up to 250 metres[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Open places in deciduous dipterocarp forests; at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
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
 
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitAnnual
Height1.20 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Plants in this genus generally prefer a sunny position, succeeding in dry to moist, well-drained soils[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Grown as a green manure, fibre crop and ornamental, the plant has escaped from cultivation and become naturalized in some areas. It is considered to be invasive in some areas - in Hawaii, for example, it is naturalized in disturbed sites such as roadsides, dump sites and urban areas[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].
The plant can flower and produce fruit all year round[
974
Title
Encyclopedia of Tropical Plants - Identification and Cultivation of over 3,000 Tropical Plants
Publication
 
Author
Ahmed Fayaz
Publisher
Firefly Books Ltd.; New Zealand
Year
2011
ISBN
978-1-55407-489
Description
A good photograph and terse but detailed information for over 3,000 species of tropical plants. An excellent reference.
].
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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

The flowers and leaves have a sweet flavour and are edible as a vegetable[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
]. Their alkaloid content is very low[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The roasted dehulled seeds are eaten in Vietnam[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The seedpods contain about 10 - 20 yellow-brown to blackish heart-shaped seeds measuring about 5 mm x 3 mm[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Some caution is advised, see notes on toxicity[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

The roots are used against coughing up blood[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The plant is used as a treatment for complaints such as cough, dyspepsia, fever, cardiac disorders, stomatitis, diarrhoea, scabies and impetigo[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
].
An infusion of the plant is used to bathe children in order to prevent skin infections and also to treat thrush[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The leaves, mixed with those of Crotalaria quinquefolia, act internally as well as externally against fever, scabies, lung diseases and impetigo[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

A decoction of the flowers and leaves is used to soothe a cold[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The seeds are eaten raw to act as an analgesic to deaden the pain of a scorpion sting[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. The powdered seeds, mixed with milk, are eaten in order to increase body strength; they are also used to treat skin diseases[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
].

The plant contains hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Crotalaria retusa is grown as a green manure and as a cover plant in plantations of coffee, oil palm etc[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. It is an excellent source of organic matter - its fresh foliage usually contains between 0.5 - 1% nitrogen, which when incorporated into the soil improves fertility and nutrient retention, while providing structure to the soil by enriching it of humus and retarding erosion[
1340
Title
Las Especies Argentinas De Crotalaria (Leguminosae - Crotalarieae): Novedades, Descripciones Y Clave
Publication
Gayana Bot. 57( 1 ): 67-87. 2000
Author
Edith Gómez-Sosa
Publisher
 
Year
2000
ISBN
0016-5301
Description
 
].
Like many other members of the genus, the plant is nematode-resistant[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
]. It is grown as a green manure in order to reduce nematode infection in the soil - the growing plant encourages nematodes to hatch, these are then unable to feed on the Crotalaria and so many of them die.

Other Uses

A strong fibre is obtained from the bark and stems[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
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.
]. It is used for cordage and making canvas[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Used as a dye plant in East Africa[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

A non-edible, non-drying oil of low unsaturtion is obtained from the seed. It has a potential for use in the production of hair shampoos, skin cream and shoe polish[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow in situ. Pre-soaking the seed for 12 hours in warm water can help to reduce germination time.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-08-16. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Crotalaria+retusa>

Comments

mecuri 04th November 2016 11:41
I hear devil's bean is an aphrodisiac.

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