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(rattlebox), a genus of plants of the family Leguminosae. They are perennial and, rarely, annual herbs, subshrubs, or shrubs. The leaves are entire, ternate, or, more rarely, palmate. The flowers, which are yellow (sometimes blue or purple), are in apical or axillary inflorescences; sometimes they are solitary. There are over 500 species, distributed in the tropics and subtropics, primarily in Africa.
Sunn (Crotalaria juncea), which is also known as sunn hemp and Indian hemp, is an ancient textile crop. It is cultivated primarily in India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Vietnam, and Indonesia; it is also grown in Africa, Australia, and America. In the USSR it is cultivated in Transcaucasia and Middle Asia. Sunn is an annual plant, measuring up to 2.5 m tall; it has entire leaves, large yellow flowers, and extremely inflated, thickly pubescent pods. The fiber obtained from its stalks is used to manufacture string, rope, fishnets, burlap, and sails; in the USA it is also used in the manufacture of special types of paper. Sunn is a valuable green manure. Some other species of Crotalaria, such as C. retusa, are also cultivated for their fibers but are less significant.
REFERENCESiniagin, I. I. Tropicheskoe zemledelie. Moscow, 1968.
T. V. EGOROVA