Sprawling Rattlepod
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Sprawling Rattlepod
ative Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Sprawling Rattlepod
Botanical name: Crotalaria humifusa    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Crotalaria prostrata auct. non Rottb.

Sprawling Rattlepod is a annual or short-lived perennial herb, prostrate, up to 20 cm, most parts adpressed hairy. Stems are terete, densely velvety. Stipules are linear, to 4 × 1.8 mm, somewhat persistent. Leaves are simple, stalks shorter than stipules, up to 2 mm. Leaves are broadly elliptic-ovate, often slightly oblique, 1.2-3.6 x 1-2.4 cm, both surfaces silky hairy but more densely so below, abaxially grayish green, base broadly wedge-shaped to rounded, tip rounded and not mucronate. Flowers are borne in racemes which are leaf-opposed or at branch ends, on short flowering branches, ascending, very lax, 2-8-flowered. Bracts are linear, about 1.5 mm. Flower-stalks are up to 4 mm, bracteoles inserted at base of calyx, similar to bracts. Calyx is 2-lipped, 4-6 mm, deeply divided; lower 3 lobes linear-lanceolate, curved, 2-3.5 mm; upper lobes fused, slightly wider, tip flat. Flowers yellow, standard oblong-circular, 5.5-6.5 mm, midline abax­ially with trichomes; keel slightly longer than standard, sharply angled near base, apex extended into a straight slightly twisted beak. Pods are cylindric-ovoid, 6-8 mm, about 12-seeded, hairless. Seeds are very pale brown, D-shaped, about 1.3 mm, glossy. Sprawling Rattlepod is found in the Himalayas, from Kumaun to Sikkim, Malaysia, at altitudes of 1800-1900 m.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal Photographed in Sirmaur Distt, Himachal Pradesh.

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