What’s That Rattling Sound?

Photographed at Deepor Beel

One of the most conspicuous flowering shrubs seen along roadsides and the banks of rivers and lakes around this time of the year is the Rattlepod. Belonging to the genus Crotalaria, these are woody shrubs and there are about 600 or more species, mostly from the tropics. I had posted a picture of the yellow blooms recently and Ginny of  Let Your Light Shine had asked me why they were called so.

The common name is derived from the fact that the seeds become loose in the pod as they mature, and rattle when the pod is shaken. The name is derived from a Greek word meaning castanet and is the same root as the name for the rattlesnakes (Crotalus).

The flowers are favoured by carpenter bees. They also attract butterflies like the Tigers and the Crows. The blooms are a source of an essential alkaloid essential for their reproduction. The above picture shows a Plain Tiger butterfly on the blooms.

One of the Blues did not seem to mind my presence at all!

And finally, the dried pods that make the rattling sound.

Some of the facts about butterflies and the plant have been taken from the book Common Indian Wild Flowers by Isaac Kehimkar. It’s a joy to photograph wildflowers and a reference book  is most essential.


About Kanak Hagjer

Hello from north-east India! I love to blog about all things floral and foliar and sharing the beauty of my region is what I am most passionate about!
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7 Responses to What’s That Rattling Sound?

  1. Andrea says:

    Oh thanks Kanak for those many information. We also have that weed and I am familiar with that sound, i didn’t know that is described as rattling. When we were kids we even touch the pods so they will pop and produce that sound. I also didn’t know that it has alkaloids needed by those butterflies. Now that you remind me of that plant, i realized i haven’t seen that for a few years now. I wonder why they seemed to be lost in our area!

  2. lotusleaf says:

    I used to see these wild flowers some years ago here. Now all the building activity has taken its toll, and most of our native wild flowers are disappearing from the countryside.Excellent post, Kanak!

  3. Thanks so much for this answer! When I saws your title, I was afraid you had run into a rattlesnake!!! I guess kids could use these as musical instruments! I love that butterfly, he has polka dots on his head!

  4. Anita says:

    Nice post! Wild flowers grow wild without anyone tending to them and yet they can be as impressive as delicate garden flowers, that are painstakingly cultivated. Now that our cities are turning to concrete jungles, wild flowers are getting rarer.

  5. wendy says:

    Oh, it’s so nice to see wildflowers and butterflies! Our butterflies are gone until next year. Beautiful photos. Thanks for posting.

  6. Amazing and beautiful wild life. Thank you, my friend.

  7. arati says:

    Interesting post kanak. It is a handy book to have and is particularily delightful when u find the insects mentioned alongside the host plant!

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