Fast-growing but short-lived plants with broad, open canopies of feathery foliage. Pretty, pendent clusters of summer flowers, reminiscent of wisteria, are followed by beanlike seedpods that dry and then rattle in the wind. Need well-drained soil. Somewat drought tolerant.
S. drummondii. RATTLEBUSH. Shrub. Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11. Native from Florida to Arkansas and Texas. To 20 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide; usually smaller in colder part of range, where branches often die back. Leaves to 8 in. long, with 10 to 25 pairs of oblong, 1-in. leaflets. Small (12-in.) flowers are yellow, sometimes marked with red; 2-in.-long seedpods.
S. grandiflora. SCARLET WISTERIA TREE. Tree. Native to tropical Asia; almost evergreen in warmest parts of the South. To 3040 ft. tall, 1520 ft. wide, with foot-long leaves made up of 10 to 30 pairs of 1- to 2-in. leaflets. Pendent clusters of sweet peashaped blossoms to 4 in. long, in rusty red, pink, or white. Pods can reach over 1 ft. long.
S. punicea. RATTLEBOX. Shrub. Native to North America; naturalized in the Coastal South. Sometimes sold as Daubentonia. Usually grows to 6 ft. tall, though it can reach up to 12 ft.; 58 ft. wide. Self-seeds, forming colonies (sometimes rather rangy looking) with broad, flat crowns of delicate foliage. Leaves are variable in length, with 6 to 20 pairs of 12- to 1-in. leaflets. Small vermilion flowers in 4-in. clusters appear over an especially long season, from early summer into early fall. Seedpods are 34 in. long.