Crotalaria cunninghamii

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Green birdflower
Crotalaria cunninghamii 2.jpg
Scientific classification
C. cunninghamii
Binomial name
Crotalaria cunninghamii
R.Br., 1849
Crotalaria cunninghamii - this form has distinctive green flowers in axillary clusters.

Crotalaria cunninghamii, also known as green birdflower or regal birdflower, is a plant of the legume family Fabaceae,[1] named after early 19th century botanist Allan Cunningham.[1][2] It is native to, and widespread, in inland northern Australia.[1][3] It is a coloniser of unstable sand dunes, along beaches and in Mulga communities.[3] It is pollinated by large bees and by honeyeaters[citation needed].


Green birdflower is a perennial shrub that grows to about 1–3 m in height. It has hairy or woolly branches and dull green foliage. The oval leaves are about 30 mm long, the large and greenish pea flowers are streaked with fine black lines, and the club-shaped seed pods are up to 50 mm long. The plant's flowers grow on long spikes at the ends of its branches.[1] The flower greatly resembles a bird attached by its beak to the central stalk of the flowerhead.[3]

Uses and cultivation[edit]

The sap from the leaves was used by Aboriginal people to treat eye infections.[1][3]

Green birdflower can be grown in warm areas. It needs well-drained soils and a position in full sun. It is not suited to cold climates or where there are frosts. Propagation is from seed, which readily germinates after boiling water treatment, or from cuttings.[1]

This plant has a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria, which helps improve nitrogen levels in the soil. This nitrogen is used by the Green birdflower and other plants in the vicinity.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Crotalaria cunninghamii". Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  2. ^ "Allan Cunningham (1791 - 1839) - Pacsoa". Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  3. ^ a b c d "Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden - Plants: Regal birdflower". Archived from the original on 2019-06-26. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  4. ^ Fern, Ken. "Tropical Plants Database". Retrieved 8 October 2020.