Crotolaria, Rattlebox, Rattleweed, Cat's Bell

Crotalaria spectabilis

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Crotalaria (kroh-tuh-LAR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: spectabilis (speck-TAB-ih-liss) (Info)



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


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


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Mid Winter


Grown for foliage

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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

Jones, Alabama

Bartow, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Chipley, Florida

Deland, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Largo, Florida

Live Oak, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Satellite Beach, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Wauchula, Florida

Williston, Florida

Winter Garden, Florida

Hortense, Georgia

Rincon, Georgia

Barbourville, Kentucky

Greer, South Carolina

Port Orchard, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 4, 2017, SOFL from Pompano Beach, FL wrote:

This plant shows invasive characteristics in South Florida natural areas. There are better species to plant to attract the same pollinators and achieve the same appearance.


On Jun 24, 2012, roxy123 from Port Orchard, WA wrote:

I bought some pasture seed from Oregon and put all of it in one pasture. I got a hole pasture of nothing but this nasty rattle weed which is poisnes to my animals, (horses, dogs, cats). I want to know how to get rid of this stuff fast. I live in the WA area.


On Apr 13, 2003, Maudie from Harvest, AL wrote:

This plant does well in Zone 8; is very attractive, long blooming and reseeds abundantly. Harvest the seed from pods along the stems when dry enough to "rattle" or they will pop open and fall to the ground. This plant replaces nitrogen to the soil. It does not reuire a lot of water and is heat tolerant. Overall a good plant for yellow blooms over a long period.


On Nov 20, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is an upright growing summer annual. The stems are coarse and well branched. Leaves are trifoliate, the leaflets varying in shape from linear to ovate. Crotalaria are adapted only to warm climates with a long growing season. Widely distributed from Florida to Texas in coastal plain and piedmont; abundant along roadsides and in fields.

All parts of the plant are poisonous, whether green or dried in hay. The seeds are especially poisonous. Chickens, horses, cattle and swine are the species usually affected, but sheep, goats, mules and dogs can be affected to a lesser degree. Poisoning occurs from consuming the green plant, hay contaminated with crotalaria, or dried seed in harvested grain.