Crotalaria brevidens (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Crotalaria brevidens Benth.

Family: Leguminosae - Papilionoideae


  • Crotalaria intermedia Kotschy.

Vernacular names

  • Slenderleaf crotalaria (En).


Africa, from northern Nigeria to the Sudan, Ethiopia and around Lake Victoria; introduced into South-East Asia and the Americas, naturalized in Hawaii.


A cover crop and green manure, also grown as a fodder crop. It is generally considered non-toxic, although some forms contain toxins and reduce nematode populations in subsequent grass crops. The young leaves have a high protein content and are eaten as a vegetable in Kenya. Seeds contain a gum extractable by dry milling.


Annual or short-lived perennial, rather variable herb, 0.5-2 m tall, branches numerous, with short appressed to spreading hairs. Leaves trifoliolate; petiole 2-6 cm long; leaflets linear to elliptical, 4-14 cm × 0.3-3.3 cm, puberulous below. Inflorescence a 10-50 cm long, terminal raceme, many-flowered; bracts linear, expanded at the base, 1-3.5 mm long; calyx becoming truncate at the base, deflexed against the pedicel, 3-8 mm long, hairy to glabrous; standard ovate to elliptical, clear yellow or cream with red-brown veins; wings and keel 1.2-2.4 cm long. Pod subsessile, narrow-cylindrical, curved at the ends, 3.5-5 cm × 0.5-0.7 cm, pubescent, with up to 80 seeds. Seed oblique-cordiform, up to 3 mm long, pale yellow or orange, smooth. C. brevidens is found in open and wooded grassland and seasonal swamps, from 600-2700 m altitude, sometimes ruderal. It is an active nitrogen-fixer.

Selected sources

47, 52, 126, 131, 136.


M.S.M. Sosef & L.J.G. van der Maesen