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PlantFiles: Canary Bird Bush, Rattlebox
Crotalaria agatiflora

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Crotalaria (kroh-tuh-LAR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: agatiflora (ag-at-ih-FLOR-a) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

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
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral RvDruten On May 2, 2010, RvDruten from Johannesburg
South Africa wrote:

This last season (Summer) in Johannesburg I propagated sixteen canary bird bushes from the seeds harvested from of our first bush.. The exercise was a great success. Now, at fall, they are all three feet high and a few flowered in the first season. The original bush is ten feet tall after three seasons, and is an absolutely beautiful sight in our garden. The root system seems fragile as at one stage strong winds pushed it over, but the soil was soaked after much rain. I repositioned and supported the stem, and it is now flourishing. Perhaps I had planted it too shallow?.
I am however mortified to read in your description of the plant that all parts are poisonous!. This is bad news as we have a standing policy in our garden not to have anything that can be ingested by infants of visitors to our home. I filled up our fish pond with soil for the same reason. Rather safe than sorry, and alas I must now uproot the mature canary bush and destroy the fledgling plants.
I have harvested about fifty seed pods from the mature bush and will send it free to anyone who so desires, but not at my postage costs. I don't have a digital camera so cannot send a pic to your magazine of the lovely mature bush, sorry!. My misfortune regarding ignorance of the plants poisonous characteristics is a perhaps a lesson to all,.. first read the instructions!!.

Neutral macybee On Nov 18, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Botanica Encyclopedia
CROTALARIA - Rattlebox
This large genus of legumes consists of around 600 species, occurring in most warmer regions of the world but with the great majority confined to Africa and Madagascar. They include annuals as well as evergreen perennials, subshrubs and shrubs. The leaves are simple, or compound with 3 leaflets and the flowers are of the pea-type, from medium-sized to quite large and mostly yellow to greenish yellow. The hard, inflated seed pods are a distinctive feature of the genus, with loose rattling seeds at maturity that give them their common name--- when the seeds have dried out they rattle inside the pods.
They are nearly all frost-tender plants and need a sheltered location in full sun and moderately rich, well-drained soil. Pruning after flowering will keep them compact and encourage a second blooming. Propagate from pre-soaked seed or from tip cuttings in spring or summer.
CROTALARIA AGATIFLORA - Canary-Bird Bush, Bird Flower
Native to upland areas of eastern Africa, this shrub of rather open habit is grown for its elegant, large greenish-yellow pea-flowers that appear from spring to fall on ascending spikes. It has pale green leaves with 3 leaflets and grows to a height of 10-12' and a spread of about 8'. The common names refer to the flowers' resemblance, before they open fully, to small birds perched on twigs.
ZONES: 10-12


Positive Yce On Jun 11, 2006, Yce from San Diego, CA wrote:

Just got this plant from City Farmers off Home Ave. Not much experience with this but LOVED the way it blooms - like a yellow erythrina. Anyone here have any experience with it in a coastal exposure? Would love to use it in future designs.


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

Albany, California
Belmont, California
Berkeley, California
Clayton, California
Encinitas, California
San Diego, California
Santa Barbara, California

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