Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Crotalaria Pallida, a new addition to Putrajaya backyard garden

I parked under a large tree at Bangi Golf Resort. As I get out of the car, a cluster of small shrubs attracted my attention. The shrubs were  about 3 feet high, with yellow flowers and  seedpods hanging down nicely. I took a few ripe seedpods home.

I googled to get  its name, Crotalaria Pallida, a leguminous plant.  I remembered seeing these plants in Kampung Pelegong and Kampung Gamin Tengah, both in Negeri Sembilan while visiting friends. I dont think I ever seen one in  Putrajaya or Perak.

This is an erect shrub, annual or short-lived perennial herb of 1.5 m or more tall.  The stout stem is hairy and has longitudinal grooves. Leaves are trifoliate with a 2-8.5 cm long petiole, leaflets 3-13 x 2-5 cm and elliptical to obovate. Flowers are yellow, often reddish-brown veined and borne on 15-40 cm long racemes, each with 20-30 flowers. Fruits are 3-5 x 0.6-0.8 cm, 30-40 seeded that are heart-shaped, 3 x 2 mm, shiny, mottled ochre and dark grey-green or brown.

Crotalaria pallida Aiton. Fabaceae. CN: [Malay - (Dusun) Kiri-kiri, Tirik-irik], Salts rattlebox, Smooth rattlebox, Striped crotalaria, Streaked rattlepod, Native of tropical Africa, tropical Asia' elsewhere naturalized or cultivated. perennial herb or sub-shrub, with stems ascending or erect, 1-2 m tall. Leaves are trifoliate, leaflets elliptic, ovate, or oblanceolate, 2.8-9.5 cm long, 1.2-4.5 cm wide. Leaf base is wedge-shaped or rounded, with leaf stalk 2.2-6.7 cm long. Flowers are 1-1.5 cm long, 22-75 in terminal, somewhat lax inflorescence about 15-40 cm long. Petals are yellow with lines near base, standard petal 0.9-1.2 cm long, 7-9 mm wide, keel petals striated, with non-twisted prolonged beak. Pods brown at maturity, 3.5-3.8 cm long.

I had them germinated and transplanted to one side of the backyard garden.  Some didn't survive, trampled by neighbour's cats or chewed by snails. Now these Crotalaria Pallida are producing seeds pods.

Crotalaria Pallida: Seedpods

Crotalaria Pallida: Flowers

Crotalaria Pallida: young flowers

Crotalaria Pallida: flowers, full bloom.

Crotalaria Pallida:  shrubs

I love these cute little perennials for the flowers that had been attracting bees, and for its nitrogen fixing potentials. I noticed these crotalaria pallida seemed  happy with a bit of pruning.


Bangchik and Kakdah


  1. My neighbour have this plant. They self seed easily!
    While young I use to play by shaking the dry seeds. It produce sound! ;)

    1. yes, dry seeds produce sound, and the other name of crotalaria is in fact rattlebox....!

  2. Wow! My garden needs some of those nitrogen too! Nice little blooms and leaves. What a lovely find and happy tending the shrub, Bangchik and Kakdah :)

    1. Crotalaria pallida is a perennial, and should live up to five years.... long enough to fertilise the soil..


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