Partridge Pea

lorilee

Sumner, United States

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Partridge Pea
Chamaechrista fasciculata
Caesalpinia family (Caesalpiniaceae)

Description: This native annual plant is ½-2’ tall, branching occasionally. Shorter plants are erect, while taller plants are inclined to sprawl. The slender hairless stems are initially light green, but become reddish brown. The alternate compound leaves are medium to dark green. They have petioles with nectaries that attract insects. Each compound leaf has up to 20 leaflets, which are somewhat sensitive to touch. A leaflet is about 2/3" long and 1/3" across. It is hairless and oblong. The bright yellow flowers appear along the major stems near the axils of the leaves. They are about 1" across, and have an open, irregular shape. Each flower has 5 rounded petals that vary in relative size, and there are about 10 reddish stamens. There is no floral scent. The blooming period is quite long, from mid-summer to fall. During the fall, pods develop that are initially hairy green, but later become hairless and dark brown. They are about 2½" long, ¾" across, and rather flat. The seeds are dark brown, rather flat, and slightly pitted. The root system consists of a central taproot and smaller auxillary roots.

Cultivation: The preference is full sun and average to dry conditions. The soil can contain sand, loam, gravel, or clay, to which this plant will add nitrogen. It favors poor soil because of reduced competition from other plants. Partridge Pea is easy to grow, but can spread readily in dry, open situations. It’s not usually bothered by disease.

Range & Habitat: Habitats include mesic to dry black soil prairies, sand prairies, savannas, limestone glades, abandoned fields, open areas along railroads and roadsides. Sometimes Partridge Pea is deliberately planted to stabilize banks around ditches and other areas, from where it frequently escapes. This plant favors disturbed areas.

I found these in a ditch near my home in northeast Iowa.

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Artwork Comments

  • Colleen Drew
  • lorilee
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  • Rick  Friedle
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  • Lori Peters
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  • Digitalbcon
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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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