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Products > Crotalaria agatiflora
Crotalaria agatiflora - Canary Bird Bush

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Fabaceae = Pea Family
Origin: Africa, East (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow Green
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Crotalaria agatiflora (Canary Bird Bush) - An evergreen shrub characterized by flowers that look like a family of green canaries perching on a branch. With ample water and room this shrub can grow to 12 feet tall by an equal width but is more often seen much smaller and where grown without summer irrigation is often only 4 to 5 feet tall. It has gray-green trifoliate leaves with each of the elliptic leaflets 1 to 3 inches long. In spring until fall appear the terminal inflorescences, sometimes nearly two feet long, bearing 1 to 2 inch long flowers with chartreuse colored flowers and gray-purple calyces that really do look birds attached to the stem by their beaks. Plant in full sun or part shade, water regularly to very little. Tips freeze at around 27 F but the woody parts are to 20-25 degrees F. Flowering diminishes in hot inland valleys in summer but resumes in fall. Its rangy open habit can be contained and neatened by pruning one or more times during the warmer months and this also encourages re-bloom. Canary Bird Bush is native to tropical eastern Africa from southern Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya. The name derives from the Latin 'Crotalus' (which originated from the Greek word 'krotalon' or ???ta??? which means "rattle" or "castanet" for the seed pods which rattle in the wind when dry. This root word is also used for genus name Crotalus for rattlesnakes. The specific epithet comes from the flowers resemblance to a plant once called Agati grandiflora, that is now Sesbania grandiflora. Besides Canary Bird Bush other common names include bird flower, Queensland birdflower (so called in Australia when it is not native) rattlebox or rattlepod. We have grown this interesting and attractive plant off and on since 1983. We have seen Crotalaria retusa, which is commonly called Rattleweed sometimes being sold in California incorrectly as Crotalaria agatiflora  The information on this page is based on our research that has been conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in the nursery, in the nursery's garden, and in other gardens where it has been observed. We also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing  Crotalaria agatiflora.