The beautiful plant goes by a few names, the most common being Scarlet Wisteria or Rattlebox Tree. It originated in Argentine and was brought here as a prized specimen for gardens because of it’s magnificent floral show. Unfortunately, it has it’s terrible drawbacks.
The name Rattlebox comes from the rattling sound made by dried seed pods. The seeds are highly poisonous, and the germination rate is off the charts – I believe in the 90% range – and the seeds stay viable for a few years (I’ve read up to 5 and maybe more!). If you decide to grow this plant, the seed pods should be removed and destroyed so it doesn’t propagate. It will flower from spring to frost.
This shrub loves coastal marshes and is a problem in waterways, swamps, and marshes for most of our USA southern border.
Like the siren song in Ulysses, this plant is so lovely the temptation to own and grow it is almost overwhelming. Read up on it before you add it to your landscape so you’re informed and know how to manage it.
This picture was taken in Buxton, Outer Banks, Dare County, NC, on May 28, 2010, where it grows rampant along the wetland edge.
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