Seeds of South Australia
Crotalaria smithiana (Leguminosae)
Yellow Rattle-pod
List of species for Crotalaria
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Seed collecting:
September to December
Herbarium region:
Lake Eyre
NRM region:
South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA regions
Simpson Desert (SSD02)Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields
 Near Threatened
Dieri (SSD03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [limited habitat]
Strzelecki Desert (SSD05) 
 Near Threatened
Oodnadatta (STP02)Stony Plains
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Murnpeowie (STP03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [edge of range]
Macumba (STP05) 
 Near Threatened
Witjira (STP06) 
 Least Concern
Baltana (STP07) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Least Concern
Coongie (CHC06) 
 Least Concern
Lake Pure (CHC07) 
 Least Concern
RSCA map:
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion. Please click the thumbnail map.
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Crotalaria]
Name derivation:
Crotalaria from the Greek 'crotalon' meaning a rattle, castanet, referring to the sound the dried seed pods make when shaken.
Found in the north-east corner of South Australia growing on sand on hills and creek beds and banks. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.
Native. Common in South Australia. Rare in Western Australia. Uncommon in New South Wales. Common in the other States.
Plant description:
A soft-wooded shrub with a strong tap root; at first an erect stem, later several procumbent or ascending branches to 0.5 m long, grey or bluish-green with a spreading retrorse pilose indumentum. Leaflet elliptic to obovate, often broad to 50 mm long and 30 mm wide; densely tomentose on both sides; stipules narrow-triangular, pubescent. Flower-spike ascending or erect, terminal on the branches,;3-14 cm long with up to 40 yellow, often reddish at the centre pea-flowers. Flowering between May and November.
Fruit type:
Reddish-brown obovate-oblong pod to 20 mm long and 9 mm wide.
Seed type:
Orange reniform seed to 4.5 mm long and 3 mm wide with a smooth surface.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Collect mature pods that are plump, turning reddish-brown and contain hard seeds.
Seed cleaning:
Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then use a rubber bung to rub the pods or break the pods open with your fingers to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.
Seed viability:
From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 90%.
Seed germination:
This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat).
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
1770 (34 g)
1800 (35 g)
Lake Eyre
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.