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PlantFiles: Rattlebox, Scarlet Wisteria, False Poinciana, Purple Sesbane
Sesbania punicea

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sesbania (ses-BAN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: punicea (pun-IK-ee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Sesbania tripetii
Synonym:Daubentonia punicea
Synonym:Daubentonia tripetii

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

38 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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5 positives
4 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Opus27no2 On Dec 24, 2014, Opus27no2 from Slaughter, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

A beautiful shrub, certainly. Butterflies and Humming birds dig it.

To those who complain that Dave's Garden continues to allow these poisonous and invasive plants space on the site: Quit your whining. It is of endless valuable service that they ARE given space to educate people to these properties so they can take the proper precautions when growing these babies, so they know to remove the pods and dispose of them properly as to avoid invasiveness or harm all while enjoying their beauty and allowing our planet's diversity to endure.

Negative mlml On Jul 14, 2014, mlml from Penngrove, CA wrote:

This plant is a red alert in California. Nurseries which sell it face a fine in our county. The other commentators note how invasive it can be except in other areas, too. I don't know why Dave's Garden continues to feature plants with bad reputations. The poisonous seeds should be enough to restrain most people from buying it. The pods look like pea pods and child poisoning is possible. It has gorgeous blooms which attracts gardeners to it, but there are other plants that are not harmful which are just as beautiful - like the Lonicera featured today.

Positive J0ZEPH On May 13, 2013, J0ZEPH from Bishopville, MD wrote:

My rattleboxes have been growing in Bishopville, MD for the last 5 years on the south side of my house. There are 4 of them ranging from 7' to 15'. A bad winter can kill them to the ground, but they are root hardy and will easily reach ten feet in a single summer and bloom all the while. I've read the information regarding their invasive tendency in the south and out west, but here it doesn't seem to be an issue since I live on the threshold of its hardiness range. I think any seedling that strays too far from a protected area wouldn't survive the winter. Having said that, the hummingbirds and I can enjoy the flower production all summer without worrying it will jump the fence.

Neutral CincoBayou On Nov 29, 2010, CincoBayou from Fort Walton Beach, FL wrote:

It is a fascinating plant especially in fall/winter with the plentiful dangling seed pods hanging from the tree/bush. From what I have read, seeds are poisonous and it is an invasive plant in Florida wetlands.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 27, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Rattlebox, Scarlet Wisteria, False Poinciana, Purple Sesbane Sesbania punicea is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Positive trois On Sep 2, 2005, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

A beautiful plant that grows by the thousands in abondoned fields. It grows especially well in coastal swamps, marshes and wetlands.

Positive tylnan On Jun 4, 2005, tylnan from Buna, TX wrote:

I have had this plant growing in my Zone 9 area for over 20 years. I never knew until finding this website what the actual name of the plant was. Several years ago all of my small plants were mowed down in error and I went across the road into the woods to find that there were hundreds of plants there where the seeds were taken by the birds or the wind. I transplanted them back into my yard again and they have been there ever since.

Negative jcangemi On Aug 12, 2004, jcangemi from Clovis, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant is an extremely invasive plant in California, threatening native vegetation and waterways. All parts of it are poisonous to mammals, birds and reptiles. Each plant can produce thousands of seeds during summer and fall, which have a high germination rate in moist soils, hence the problem along waterways. Also called 'red sesbania'.

Neutral htop On Jan 22, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Seeds are highly toxic. Symptoms include the following: abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, weakness, depression, respiratory failure ... MAY BE FATAL.

Neutral MotherNature4 On Sep 21, 2003, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant is invasive in South and Central Florida. Though it is quite beautiful, if grown in the yard you should remove the seed pods to keep it from self-propagation and to continue blooms.

Positive barryw On Aug 31, 2002, barryw from Cayce, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I've had this small tree in my zone 8 garden for 4 years. It has grown quickly and flowers most profusely in mid spring. If seed pods are removed it will flower profusely again. If not removed, tree will flower sporadically until frost. A most beautiful small tree not seen much in zone 8 (at least in my area). I highly recomend the tree for any subtropical garden.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gulf Shores, Alabama
Ashdown, Arkansas
Clovis, California
Huntington Beach, California
San Leandro, California
Tulare, California
Windsor, California
Apopka, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Bradley, Florida
Center Hill, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Fruitland Park, Florida
Gainesville, Florida (2 reports)
Jacksonville, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Miami, Florida
Middleburg, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
North Palm Beach, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida
Saint Augustine, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Hinesville, Georgia
Valdosta, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2 reports)
Folsom, Louisiana
Greenwell Springs, Louisiana
Homer, Louisiana
Slaughter, Louisiana
West Monroe, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Bishopville, Maryland
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Madison, Mississippi
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Raymond, Mississippi
Cedar Island, North Carolina
Hatteras, North Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Lexington, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Baytown, Texas
Beaumont, Texas (2 reports)
Huntington, Texas
Iredell, Texas
La Vernia, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Santa Fe, Texas

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