Shining Rattlepod
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Shining Rattlepod
P Naturalized Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Shining Rattlepod • Mizo: Tumthang-suak
Botanical name: Crotalaria micans    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Crotalaria anagyroides, Crotalaria triphylla, Crotalaria stipulata

Shining Rattlepod is a shrub, up to 3 m tall, with branchlets angular, silky. Leaves are alternate, 3-foliolate; leaflets 3-6 x 0.8-2.0 cm, oblong-inverted-lanceshaped, wedge-shaped at base, blunt, with a short sharp point at tip, hairless above, adpressed-velvet-hairy beneath; leaflet-stalks 3-4 mm long; leaf-stalks up to 4.5 cm long, longitudinally grooved above; stipules subulate, about 2 mm long, caduceus. Flowers are borne in racemes at branch-ends or in leaf-axils, elongated, up to 15 cm long; flower-cluster-stalks 3-4 cm long. Flowers are numerous, distantly arranged, about 2 x 2.5 cm; bracts linear, 6-7 mm long, falling off; bracteoles linear, 3-4 mm long, adpressed to calyx, falling off; flower-stalks about 1 cm long. Calyx-tube is 4.5-5.0 mm long, sepals 6-7 mm long, ovate, bilobed, silky. Petals are yellow, twice as long as calyx; vexillum round, about 1.8 x 2 cm, retuse at tip, hairless, claw about 5 mm long; wing petals oblong, about 2 x 0.5 cm, flat at tip; keel petals about 1.8 x 0.8 cm, sickle shaped, beak untwisted. Staminal sheath is about 1 cm long; free filaments 0.5-1.0 cm long; longer anthers oblong, about 2.5 mm long; shorter anthers ovoid, about 0..8 mm long. Pods are oblong, round in cross-section, 2.5-3.0 x 1.0-1.3 cm, velvet-hairy transversely nerved, much exceeding the persistent calyx, shortly stalked; seeds 3-5. Shining Rattlepod is native of tropical America, now widely naturalized.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed in Churachandpur, Manipur.

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