Two rattlepod species discovered in Maharashtra

What: Rattlepod species

Where: Maharashtra

Which: Shrubs

  • Indian botanists have found two rattlepod species, woody and multi-bracted rattlepods, that survive only in the hill tracts of Maharashtra.
  • Crotolaria suffruticosaOne species has been named Crotolaria suffruticosa (’suffruticose’ means woody at its base, but herb-like above). This ‘woody’ rattlepod is found in grasslands and forest edges in two localities in Kolhapur’s Karul Ghat.
  • Crotolaria multibracteata: Another one discovered was named Crotolaria multibracteata  or the ‘multi-bracted’ rattlepod survives on rocky and dry surfaces in just one locality in the nearby Panhala region.
  • This limited geographical distribution necessitates that both plants be classified as ‘endangered’ as per the criteria set by the IUCN.

About Crotolaria species

  • Crotolaria species, with ripe fruits of which are used by children as rattles, are small shrubs bearing bright yellow blooms and are common across the Indian countryside.
  • Of the 85 species of rattlepods or Crotolaria found in India, 73 survive only in peninsular states.
  • Many of these are concentrated along the Western Ghats and it takes a trained eye to discern the (often) slight physical differences between various rattlepod species.  (News source: The Hindu)

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