Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Drummond Rattlebox, Coffeebean, Poison Bean, Rattle-bush, Rattle Bean
Sesbania drummondii

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sesbania (ses-BAN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: drummondii (drum-AWN-dee-eye) (Info)

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 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:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By frostweed
Thumbnail #1 of Sesbania drummondii by frostweed

By frostweed
Thumbnail #2 of Sesbania drummondii by frostweed

By frostweed
Thumbnail #3 of Sesbania drummondii by frostweed

By frostweed
Thumbnail #4 of Sesbania drummondii by frostweed

By frostweed
Thumbnail #5 of Sesbania drummondii by frostweed


2 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive CincoBayou On Nov 9, 2012, CincoBayou from Fort Walton Beach, FL wrote:

This plant grows in 2 places (that I have seen) in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. Both places are near water in a wetlands area.
It is a fascinating bush to see in the autumn when some blooms are still on the bush as well as the dried seedpods which sound like a rattlesnake when you touch the bush.
Down here the blooms are a bright orange-red, not yellow.
I have photos of it.
From what I have read about Rattlebush, it is very invasive but I could certainly see how it would make a fine addition to a yard since it is such a pretty bush.

Negative bettydee On Jul 27, 2005, bettydee from La Grange, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

In Zone 8b, Rattlebox becomes a small multi-stemmed tree 10 to 12 feet tall. It will grow in moist to wet areas, often growing around stock ponds. It thrives in swampy areas. It produces a large quantity of seeds which germinate easily. Is very invasive and difficult to eradicate unless sprayed with an herbicide. It has pretty yellow flower clusters, but I'd rather view it from a distance, in someone else's yard.

Positive frostweed On Oct 6, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Rattlebush is a lovely plant of the Legume family.
It can be a bush or small tree that looks lush and tropical.
Here in Arlington Texas it is winter hardy, although it will die to the ground in colder winters but will come back from the roots.
Ours is 2 years old and 10 feet tall and has been beautiful this Summer.
The seeds rattle when they are dry and the bush is shaken. The seeds are
extremely hard and must be soaked and then nicked in order to germinate.
We highly recomend this plant.


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

Blytheville, Arkansas
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Barbourville, Kentucky
Coushatta, Louisiana
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Houston, Texas
Lufkin, Texas

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