About Rattlebox: This nitrogen-fixing legume comes from the Crotalaria genus, a family of more than 600 species of mostly tropical plants known as rattlepods. The name Crotalaria comes from the Greek “crotalon,” meaning “castanet” in reference to the rattling seeds in the dried pods. This plant’s species name of “sagittalis” comes from the Latin word for arrowhead, because of the pointed shape of the smaller leaves. Its unusual seed pods give it ornamental value as well as its practical function of building the soil; however, it can be dangerous to grazing animals because of its toxicity.
Rattlebox Germination: For best germination, this seed should be scarified; one method of accomplishing this is to pour hot water over the seed and let it soak overnight the day before planting. Sow just below the surface of the soil, keeping the soil lightly moist until germination. This plant adapts well to sand, gravel, or clay soil.
Growing Rattlebox Seeds: This plant prefers dry conditions, and will not need watering unless drought conditions persist. For the healthiest growth, keep weeds down to a minimum; this plant does not do well with competition. It will reseed itself, producing volunteer plants next year. Rattlebox attracts bees.
Harvesting Rattlebox: This small wildflower is best displayed in the garden or prairie, and does not make a suitable cut flower. Keep in mind that the entire plant is toxic to horses and other grazing animals.
Saving Rattlebox Seeds: After blooming, the plant will produce rounded 1-2” seed pods that ripen from green to dark brown. As soon as the pods turn brown, remove them and spread them out to dry away from direct sunlight. Split the pods open and take out the seed. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Rattlebox Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Arrowhead Rattlebox, Rattle Weed, Wild Pea Duration: Annual/Perennial Bloom Time: Summer-Early Fall Height: 12-15 inches Spacing: 9-12 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Dry USDA Zone: 3a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 4,500 Produces a plant with narrow, 3-4” leaves with tiny hairs and ½” yellow flowers with hairy green sepals.