Smooth rattlebox (Crotalaria pallida
) is an erect, upright, well-branched annual or short-lived perennial herb with woody stems. Smooth rattlebox attributes include:
- Height: Up to 3 m tall.
- Leaves: 3 egg-shaped leaflets up to 7.5 cm long.
- Flowers: Flower spikes occur at the ends of branches; numerous yellow pea-shaped flowers with reddish-brown streaks.
- Fruit: Hairy green to brown pods.
Smooth rattlebox seeds contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, predominately mucronatine and monocrotaline, which are known for causing liver damage. The effects of eating crotalaria seeds may only become apparent weeks or months after the animal has stopped eating the seeds. The toxins have a cumulative effect.