www.zinnysworld.com    Copyright 2000-2015 by Thomas Zinneman.  All rights reserved. Rabbitbells Crotalaria rotundifolia

Rabbitbells, also known as Rattlebox, is a small ground hugging plant commonly found in pine woodlands, flatwoods, and sandhills.  It is found throughout the southeastern states of the U.S., Mexico, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean.  It is a Florida native plant found throughout most of the state.

The small yellow flowers are pea-shaped, having a broadly rounded banner petal, two narrow wing petals, and a curved keel.  These flowers are about ¼ to 1/2-inch long.  They are produced at the top of a stem that averages 6-12 inches in length.  They usually bloom from the spring through the fall.

The flowers produce fat pea-like pods characteristic of the legume family.  When shaken, the dry seeds make a rattling noise, hence the names Rabbitbells and Rattlebox.

The plant has compound leaves with three rounded or elliptical leaflets, which average about 1-inch long.  The leaves are hairy and alternately attached to a trailing stem.

Although these plants are poisonous to animals, it serves as a host plant for the Ceraunus Blue Butterfly and the Rattlebox Moth.

The photos on this page were taken in Deep Creek in Charlotte County.

The distribution maps for Rabbitbells are from the Plants Database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).