Roundleaf Rattlepod
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Roundleaf Rattlepod
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Roundleaf Rattlepod
Botanical name: Crotalaria fysonii    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)

Roundleaf Rattlepod is a small trailing plant with spikes of large yellow flowers from near the ends of the stems or branches. It is found in parts of South India. It is one of the commonest plants of Kodaikanal where it sprawls by roadsides, over the edges of paths and cattle-tracks or runs in the grass. Stems are several, arising from the perennial rootstock, 6-24 inches long, occasionally bifurcating, minutely ridged and usually downy, prostrate. Leaves all face upwards, with pulvinus but hardly petioled, 1.8-3 cm long, 1.2-2.2 cm broad, mostly ovate, but the lower ones often smaller and rounded to circular. Leaves are usually velvety with white hairs springing from persistent swollen bases which roughen the surface when the hairs have fallen. Flowers are borne in racemes at the end of branches and opposite the leaves. The stem is entirely bare for 2-3 inches below the inflorescence, rising and carrying the 4-6 flowers up off the ground. Flowers stalks are about 6 mm long. Calyx is obscurely two-lipped, shaggy with white hairs; teeth lanceolate acute. Flowers are up to 1 inch or more across. Standard petal is pure yellow veined reddish brown especially on the back, often reflexed. Wings with minute cross-ridges between the veins of the upper half. Style is swollen and very hairy at the tip. Pod are 2.5-3 cm long, 6-8 mm wide, elliptic oblong or truncate, and broadest at the farther end, usually downy, sometimes shaggy; seeds eight to ten. Found flowering: November.

Identification credit: S.V. Pradeep Photographed in Munnar, Kerala.

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