Rattlesnake Plant
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Rattlesnake Plant
P Introduced Photo: Aarti Khale
Common name: Rattlesnake Plant, Rattlesnake Ginger, Yellow Rattleshaker, Yellow Rattle
Botanical name: Calathea crotalifera    Family: Marantaceae (Arrowroot family)
Synonyms: Calathea insignis, Phyllodes insignis

Rattlesnake Plant is a large, erect herb, forming clumps up to 3 m tall. The unusual inflorescences are upright, shaped like a rattlesnake's rattle, up to 25 cm long, and consist of stacked leathery floral bracts with small, yellow or yellow-orange flowers peeking out at the edges. The relatively modest actual flowers are tubular and have 3 unequal petals. The flowers are followed by 1.3 cm long, egg-shaped seed capsules containing dark blue seeds surrounded with white flesh. The leaves are large, dark green above with paler green along the midrib, grayish green with often purplish margins below, ovate in shape, and pinnately-veined with parallel lateral veins. The plants grow from underground rhizomes. Rattlesnake Plant is native to Tropical America, cultivated as a garden plant elsewhere.

Identification credit: Pudji Widodo, Ajinkya Gadave Photographed in cultivation in Bangalore.

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