What: Rattlepod species
- Indian botanists have found two rattlepod species, woody and multi-bracted rattlepods, that survive only in the hill tracts of Maharashtra.
- Crotolaria suffruticosa: One 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)