lance-leaved rattlepod

Crotalaria lanceolata subsp. lanceolata
Lance-leaved rattlepod
Lance-leaved rattlepod
Lance-leaved rattlepod
Lance-leaved rattlepod
Lance-leaved rattlepod
Lance-leaved rattlepod
Lance-leaved rattlepod
Lance-leaved rattlepod
Lance-leaved rattlepod
Lance-leaved rattlepod seeds
Vine
Alternate
Compound
Yellow
Green

A short-lived herbaceous plant with upright stems usually growing up to 1.7 m tall. Its stems are finely ribbed and sparsely hairy. Its alternately arranged leaves are once-compound with three leaflets (2-10 cm long)its pea-shaped flowers are arranged in elongated clusters (8-35 cm long) at the top of the plant. These flowers (7-8.5 mm long) are yellow with reddish-purple veins and a dark patch near base. Its small pods (18-35 mm long and 4-6 mm wide) turn blackish as they mature.

Common names 
Also known as: lance crotalaria, lanceleaf crotelaria, lanceleaf rattlebox, rattlepod,
Family 
Fabaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Year round
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
Native to southern Africa.
Notifiable 
No
Council declaration 
SIL – Special Investigation List
Known distribution 

Mainly naturalised in the coastal districts of south-eastern Queensland (i.e. in the Moreton and Wide Bay districts). Also widely naturalised in other parts of eastern Queensland, in the coastal districts of northern and central New South Wales and in the north-eastern parts of the Northern Territory.

Habitat 

A weed of roadsides, railway lines, crops, pastures, disturbed sites, waste areas, parks, gardens, open woodlands and riparian vegetation.

Habit 

A short-lived (i.e. annual) herbaceous plant with upright (i.e. erect) stems usually growing up to 1.2 m tall, but occasionally reaching up to 1.7 m in height.

Impact and control methods 
Stem and leaves 

The stems are slightly ribbed (i.e. striate) and have a sparse covering of short or spreading hairs (i.e. they are sparsely pubescent). The alternately arranged leaves are once-compound with three leaflets (i.e. trifoliate) and are borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) 1.5-4 cm long. There are no small leafy structures (i.e. stipules) at the bases of the leaf stalks. The leaflets (2-10 cm long and 0.3-1.5 cm wide) are very narrow (i.e. linear) to narrowly egg-shaped in outline (i.e. narrowly ovate) with entire margins and rounded or pointed tips (i.e. obtuse or acute apices). Their upper surfaces are mostly hairless (i.e. glabrous), while their undersides have some close-lying hairs (i.e. appressed puberulent).

Flowers and fruits 

The pea-shaped flowers are arranged in elongated clusters (8-35 cm long) at the top of the plant (i.e. in terminal racemes). They are yellow in colour with reddish-purple veins and a dark patch near base. These flowers (7-8.5 mm long) are borne on short stalks (i.e. pedicels) 4-6 mm long. They have five hairy sepals (2-4 mm long), that are fused together at the base into a tube (i.e. calyx tube), and five petals. The uppermost petal (i.e. standard) is larger than the two side petals (i.e. lateral or wing petals), and the two lower petals are fused together into a single entity (i.e. keel) and are folded lengthwise. These flowers also have ten stamens, and an elongated ovary topped with a style and stigma. Flowering occurs throughout the year, but mainly during summer and autumn. The pods (18-35 mm long and 4-6 mm wide) are covered with short close-lying hairs (i.e. appressed pubescent). These pods are green when young but turn blackish as they mature. They contain 20-50 seeds (1.4-3 mm long) that are somewhat kidney-shaped (i.e. reniform) and pale yellow to orange-brown in colour.

Reproduction and dispersal 

This species reproduces by seed, which are often spread by water or in contaminated agricultural produce.

Similar species 

Lance-leaved rattlepod (Crotalaria lanceolata subsp. lanceolata) is very similar to several other rattlepods (Crotalaria spp.), including streaked rattlepod (Crotalaria pallida var. obovata) and Gambia pea (Crotalaria goreensis). These species can be distinguished by the following differences: lance-leaved rattlepod (Crotalaria lanceolata subsp. lanceolata) is a relatively large herb (growing up to 1.5 m tall) with relatively large compound (i.e. trifoliolate) leaves with three very narrow leaflets. Its yellow flowers have reddish coloured streaks and its large, elongated, pods (20-35 mm long) are almost black in colour when mature.streaked rattlepod (Crotalaria pallida var. obovata) is a large herb (growing up to 2 m tall) with relatively large compound (i.e. trifoliolate) leaves with three very broad leaflets. Its yellow flowers have prominent reddish coloured streaks and its large, elongated, pods (30-45 mm long) are pale brown in colour when mature.Gambia pea (Crotalaria goreensis) is a relatively large herb (growing up to 1.5 m tall) with compound (i.e. trifoliolate) leaves with three leaflets. Its yellow flowers have reddish coloured streaks or patches and its small pods (about 15 mm long) are brown or black in colour when mature.