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Sesbania drummondii (Rattlebush)
Romfh, Peggy

Sesbania drummondii

Sesbania drummondii (Rydb.) Cory

Rattlebush, Rattlebox, Poisonbean

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Daubentonia drummondii


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The rattlebush is a rank-growing, woody plant 2-10 feet tall. It has many branches in the upper part, well separated, with few leaves, giving it a rather spare appearance. Bark smooth, green to light brown. Leaves are alternate, 4-8 inches long on a short stem. They are divided into 20-50 leaflets, 1/2-l 1/2 inches long and about 1/4 inch wide with no terminal leaflet. Flowers about 1/2 inch long, yellow, often streaked with red hang in clusters about 2 inches long, on a threadlike stem about the same length. Each flower has 5 petals, the top petal being longer than the others and standing erect. When the seeds mature they are loose in the pod and rattle when shaken, suggesting the name "rattlebush".

The species name of this plant is named for Thomas Drummond, (ca. 1790-1835), naturalist, born in Scotland, around 1790. In 1830 he made a trip to America to collect specimens from the western and southern United States. In March, 1833, he arrived at Velasco, Texas to begin his collecting work in that area. He spent twenty-one months working the area between Galveston Island and the Edwards Plateau, especially along the Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe rivers. His collections were the first made in Texas that were extensively distributed among the museums and scientific institutions of the world. He collected 750 species of plants and 150 specimens of birds. Drummond had hoped to make a complete botanical survey of Texas, but he died in Havana, Cuba, in 1835, while making a collecting tour of that island.


From the Image Gallery

15 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Size Notes: Up to 8 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AL , AR , FL , LA , MS , TX


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0611 Collected May 30, 1992 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-801 Collected 2006-12-06 in Llano County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Sesbania drummondii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Sesbania drummondii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Sesbania drummondii


Record Modified: 2015-10-13
Research By: TWC Staff

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