Description, Origin and The Efficacy of Rattlepods
Rattlepods is also known as Rattlebox, Rattleweed or Cat's Bell and Crotalaria juncea in Latin. The name comes from the Ancient Greek κρόταλον, which means "castanet". These plants are perennial plants that produce seeds in pods that make a crackling sound when the seed pods are shaken, hence they are also known as Rattlepods (rattling pods).
This plant is a plant that comes from tropical regions of Asia such as the Indian Subcontinent, southern China, and Southeast Asia.
Rattlepods is a member of the legume family; therefore, it can fix nitrogen in the soil like other legumes. It was for this purpose that the showy rattlepods was introduced to the United States in the early 1900's, as a nitrogen-fixing cover crop (Larum).
Growth and Shape Description
The flowers are about 1/3 inch long, yellow, with a wide, almost globular, upright petal on top (standard) that is barely notched at the tip, and 2 shorter lateral petals extending above the green keel. The calyx bearing the flower is short-stemmed, 5-branched, branched as long as the klopka or longer than the calyx, and covered with long white hairs. Only a few flowers can be opened at a time (“Crotalaria Sagittalis (Rattlebox): Minnesota Wildflowers”).
The leaves can be 1 to 3 inches long, up to 2/3 inches wide and are sessile or short-stemmed. The stems are erect and branched, densely hairy, green to purplish in color.
Rattlepods is easy to grow in various climatic conditions. Morphologically, the plant can grow to a height of 3 with fast growth. This plant tends to prefer open fields, wastelands, disturbed areas such as meadows and cultivated fields and roadsides with sandy soil and full sun exposure.
Uses and Efficacy of Rattlepods
Rattlepods are often discarded by farmers because they are considered as weeds. Even though this has nodules in which there are endophilic bacteria that are able to fix nitrogen (N2) in the air. This nitrogen is able to fertilize the soil so that it can reduce the use of artificial fertilizers ("Orok-Orok Substitute Artificial Fertilizers").
Rattlepods is one type of plant that is widely used as green manure. There are many types of plants in the family, including: Crotalaria juncea, Crotalaria lanceolata, Crotalaria ochraleuca, and Crotalaria retusa. Rattlepods covering an area of 1 ha can produce 15-25 tons of biomass which can add 113 N nitrogen, or the equivalent of 250 kg of urea produced by the factory (“Pupuk Hijau Orok-Orok”).
In its use, rattlepods can be planted in land for the main crop or also land other than the main crop. Planted 1 to 2 months before the main crop is planted. Utilization of rattlepods as fertilizer can be done with several alternatives, namely:
1. straight down and immersed in the ground, especially in paddy fields where land is cultivated using a tractor.
2. uprooted and placed in the grooves that have been prepared, then filled with soil, especially on dry soil.
3. uprooted, cut into small pieces, scattered all over the land and trampled.
4. uprooted, spread around the main plant to rot, mainly used as mulch.
The propagation of rattlepods is generally taken by seeds for planting. Rattlepods seeds taken must be from old seeds. The seeds are dried in the sun, separated from the dirt, and put in a plastic bag.
“Crotalaria Sagittalis (Rattlebox): Minnesota Wildflowers.” Minnesota Wildflowers, www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/rattlebox. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022.
Larum, Darcy. “Showy Rattlebox Control: Managing Showy Crotalaria in Landscapes.” Gardening Know How, 6 Sept. 2022, www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/weeds/showy-rattlebox-control.htm.
“Orok-Orok Pengganti Pupuk Buatan.” Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, 10 Feb. 2010, www.umy.ac.id/orok-orok-pengganti-pupuk-buatan. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022.
“Pupuk Hijau Orok- Orok.” Cyber Extension, 17 Dec. 2020, cybex.pertanian.go.id/mobile/artikel/96294/Pupuk-Hijau-Orok--Orok. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022.