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Crotalaria retusa

Crotalaria retusa

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales

Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Faboideae
Tribus: Crotalarieae
Genus: Crotalaria
Species: Crotalaria retusa
Varietates: C. r. var. indica – C. r. var. retusa

Crotalaria retusa L., 1753.

Crotalaria atusia Buch.-Ham. ex Steud.
Crotalaria cuneifolia (Forssk.) Schrank
Crotalaria hostmanii Steud.
Crotalaria retusifolia Stokes
Dolichos cuneifolius Forssk.
Hedysarum inaequale Noronha
Lupinus cochinchinensis Lour.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Africa
Regional: Western Indian Ocean
Madagascar, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Réunion
Continental: Asia-Temperate
Regional: Western Asia
Regional: Arabian Peninsula
Oman, Saudi-Arabia, Yemen
Regional: China
China Southeast, Hainan
Regional: Eastern Asia
Continental: Asia-Tropical
Regional: Indian Subcontinent
Assam, Bangladesh, East Himalaya, India, Laccadive Is., Nepal, Sri Lanka, West Himalaya
Regional: Indo-China
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam.
Regional: Malesia
Borneo, Jawa, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Maluku, Philippines, Sumatera.
Regional: Papuasia
Bismarck Archipelago, New Guinea.
Continental: Australasia
Regional: Australia
Northern Territory, Western Australia
Continental: Southern America
Regional: Central America
Nicaragua, Panamá
Regional: Western South America
Introduced into:
Andaman Is., Angola, Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Burkina, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cayman Is., Central African Republic, Chad, Cocos (Keeling) Is., Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Florida, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Gilbert Is., Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Leeward Is., Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico Southwest, Mozambique, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New South Wales, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Society Is., Somalia, Southwest Caribbean, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad-Tobago, Uganda, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Windward Is., Zaïre
Doubtfully present in:
Kenya, Maldives, Nigeria, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus II: 715. Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Crotalaria retusa in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Nov 03. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Crotalaria retusa. Published online. Accessed: Nov 03 2020. 2020. Crotalaria retusa. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Nov 03.
Hassler, M. 2020. Crotalaria retusa. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2020. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Nov 03. Reference page.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Crotalaria retusa in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.

Vernacular names
বাংলা: অতসী
English: Rattlepod
ગુજરાતી: ઘુઘરા
हिन्दी: घुनघुनिया
português: Guizo-de-cascavel
中文: 吊裙草

Crotalaria retusa is a species of flowering plant in the legume family known by various common names including devil-bean,[2] rattleweed,[3] shack shack,[4] and wedge-leaf rattlepod.[2] It is poisonous to livestock, and contaminates human food. Its original native range is unclear, probably including tropical Asia, Africa and Australia.[5] It has been introduced as a crop plant in many tropical areas and has escaped from cultivation to become a troublesome weed; it is listed as a noxious weed in several US states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and is listed as an invasive weed in India, Cuba, and Cocos Island.[5] Unlike some other species of Crotalaria, it is an annual plant.


It is an annual herb, about 60–150 centimetres (2–5 ft) high, with erect, angular, green branches.[6] The soft leaves (dark green on the upper surface, lighter underneath) are alternate, and narrowly oblong or wedge-shaped. The yellow flowers grow widely spaced in racemes at the end of the stem.[6] The pods are thin walled, and widely spaced along the stems, and when ripe are purple to black, containing about 18-20 small brown seeds.[6]

In Australia, where it is considered a native, it grows in the Kimberley on sand, clay, sandstone, and rocky basaltic soils, and is found along creeks and rivers, and on the floodplains.[7]

Crotalaria retusa is grown as a fibre crop and as green manure. It is also used as a forage plant,[5] but is poisonous to livestock.[8]

The primary source of toxicity for many species of Crotalaria is the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are poisonous to birds and large mammals. Crotalaria retusa seeds are some of the most toxic of Crotalaria species.[9] Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in honey are a threat to human health.[10]
Animals affected

In Australia, in the field, only horses are known to die from eating this plant, with most cases occurring during the wet season.[6] Grazing on the fresh plant over a period of 3 or 4 weeks typically leads to death in about three months, from "Kimberley Horse Disease" (or "walkabout" disease). Death in chronic cases can take two or more years.[6] First signs of poisoning are loss of weight, followed by sleepiness and depression. The horses then become irritable and start walking aimlessly until they die.[6]

In the U.S.A. the seeds have been found to be poisonous to chickens.[6]

The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 20 January 2016
USDA GRIN Taxonomy, retrieved 20 January 2016
USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Crotalaria retusa". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
Wagstaff, D.J. (2008), International Poisonous Plants Checklist: An Evidence-Based Reference, Taylor & Francis, p. 109, ISBN 9781420062533
Invasive Species Compendium, retrieved 20 January 2016
Everist, S.L. 1979. 'Poisonous Plants in Australia' (2nd. ed.)(pp, 412-415). Angus & Robertson Publishers, Melbourne, Australia,
"FloraBase: Crotalaria retusa". V Western Australian Herbarium, Biodiversity and Conservation Science, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
"Crotalaria retusa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 715. 1753", Flora of China @,, retrieved 20 January 2016
Williams, MC; Molyneux, RJ (1987), "Occurrence, Concentration, and Toxicity of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Crotalaria Seeds", Weed Science, 35 (4): 476–481, doi:10.1017/S0043174500060410, JSTOR 4044515
Morris, J.G.; Potter, M. (2013), Foodborne Infections and Intoxications, Elsevier Science, ISBN 9780123914767

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