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Useful Tropical Plants

Crotalaria spectabilis

Roth

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Crotalaria altipes Raf.

Crotalaria cuneifolia (Forssk.) Schrank

Crotalaria lechnaultii DC.

Crotalaria leschenaultii DC.

Crotalaria macrophylla Wienmann

Crotalaria retzii Hitchc.

Crotalaria sericea Retz.

Common Name:

Crotalaria spectabilis
Close-up of the flowers
Photograph by: Kristine Paulus
Creative Commons License
Crotalaria spectabilis Crotalaria spectabilis Crotalaria spectabilis Crotalaria spectabilis Crotalaria spectabilis

General Information

Crotalaria spectabilis is an erect, much-branched annual to perennial plant with stems that can become more or less woody and persist; it can grow 60 - 150cm tall[
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.
,
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
,
1341
Title
A revision of the Genus Crotalaria Linn. (Papilionaceae) in Thailand
Publication
Thai For Bull 11;105-181; 1978
Author
Chawalit Niyomdham
Publisher
 
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
 
,
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 harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. It is often grown as a soil improver and stabilizer, having the added benefit of being able to reduce soil nematode populations. It is also often grown as an ornamental, valued especialy for its long flowering season[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Known Hazards

The plant is toxic to livestock[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The seed and other above-ground parts contain the pyrrolizidine alkaloid monocrotaline, which lowers blood pressure but is toxic to farm animals and probably also to root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.)[
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.
].
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids have a cumulative effect upon the body and, unless concentrations in a plant are high, occasional use is generally completely safe. They are derived from amino acids including ornithine. Many pyrrolizidine 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.
].
Because of its bitterness the green material is avoided by livestock[
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.
]

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.
,
1341
Title
A revision of the Genus Crotalaria Linn. (Papilionaceae) in Thailand
Publication
Thai For Bull 11;105-181; 1978
Author
Chawalit Niyomdham
Publisher
 
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
 

Range

E. Asia - Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia. Naturalized throughout the Tropics.

Habitat

Montane grasslands, along trails, forest margins and as a weed of cultivated fields; at elevations from 100 - 1,500 metres[
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.
,
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.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitAnnual
Height1.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the seasonal and wet tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 21 - 28°c, but can tolerate 9 - 32°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -2°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,200 - 1,600mm, but tolerates 900 - 2,800mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Grows best in a sunny position, tolerating some shade[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, including those of low fertility[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 6.5, tolerating 4.9 - 8[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
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 has escaped from cultivation and become naturalized throughout the tropics. It is considered to be an invasive a weed of disturbed and cultivated ground[
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.
], and has been declared a 'Noxious Weed' in America.
Spring sown in Brazil the plant provides groundcover in 70 - 85 days, it flowers after 70 -85 days, and matures in 90 - 130 days[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Annual green material production may be about 50 tonnes per hectare[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
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[
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

Flowers - cooked and eaten as a vegetable, or pickled after boiling[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

Medicinal

The plant is used in the treatment of scabies 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.
].

The seed and other above-ground parts contain the pyrrolizidine alkaloid monocrotaline, which has been shown to lower blood pressure but is also toxic[
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.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is grown as a green manure and also to stabilize the soil[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. 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
 
].
It contains the pyrrolizidine alkaloid monocrotaline, which is toxic to root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.). The plant's growth rate and effective control of root-knot and sting nematodes make it a very useful green manure crop. Its effect on nematodes and potential as a trap crop for root-knot nematodes should be studied further[
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.
].

Other Uses

The stem yields a fairly strong, durable fibre[
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.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

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. 2021-02-25. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Crotalaria+spectabilis>

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