Sesbania Species, False Poinciana, Purple Sesbane, Rattlebox, Scarlet Wisteria

Sesbania punicea

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sesbania (ses-BAN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: punicea (pun-IK-ee-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Daubentonia punicea
Synonym:Piscida punicea
Synonym:Sesbania tripetii



Water Requirements:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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(2 reports)

Austin, Texas

Baytown, Texas

Beaumont, Texas(2 reports)

Huntington, Texas

Iredell, Texas

La Vernia, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

Santa Fe, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 25, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This species has naturalized in California and 10 southeastern states from Texas to Virginia, according to BONAP. It has been reported to be destructive to natural areas, especially wetlands, over most of its naturalized range.

This species is native to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. It has naturalized in other parts of South America and in parts of Africa, as well as the US.

South Africa has declared ... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


On Aug 12, 2004, jcangemi from Atascadero, CA (Zone 8a) 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'.


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.


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.


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.