Common Name: Tawny Rattlepod
Crotalaria berteroana is an erect, much-branched shrub usually growing 90 - 150cm tall, though it can reach up to 250cm[
The plant is harvested fom the wild for local use as a medicine. It is sometimes grown as a green manure.
E. Asia - central and southern India, Sri Lanka
Naturalized in grassland and areas of human disturbance at elevations from 500 - 1,500 metres in Medagascar.
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Plants in this genus generally prefer a sunny position, succeeding in dry to moist, well-drained soils[
We have no specific report for this species, but most species in this genus have 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[
The plant is used in Madagascar to treat scabies and 'tumeurs blanches'[
The plant grows vigorously and fixes atmospheric nitrogen. It has been used as a green manure and cover crop to add humus and improve the quality of the soil.
The yellowish wood is soft[
Seed - stored seed has a hard seedcoat and can benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination[
]. 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.
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