Cassia fasciculata (Chamaecrista fasciculata)
- Common Name(s):
- Partridge pea
- Annuals, Herbs, Native Plants, Poisonous Plants, Wildflowers
Chamaecrista fasciculate, commonly known by a large number of common names including partridge pea, prairie senna, golden cassia, large-flowered sensitive pea, sleeping plant, and locust weed, is a showy annual flower in the legume family that typically grows to 1-3’ tall. Shorter plants stand erect, but taller plants tend to sprawl. It is native to a variety of habitats including rocky open woods, upland slopes, ridges, bluffs, prairies, grasslands, rocky fields and open thickets in the eastern, mid-western and Great Plains sections of the U. S. from Massachusetts to South Dakota south to New Mexico and Florida.
Partridge pea has a taproot. Its secondary roots are well developed, forming a fibrous root system.
It is considered an excellent species for planting on disturbed areas for erosion control and improving soil fertility. It establishes rapidly, fixes nitrogen, reseeds, and slowly decreases as other species in the seeding mix begin to dominate the site.
Regions: Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains
Seasons of Interest:
Blooms: Summer, late summer Nut/Fruit/Seed: Late summer, fall
Wildlife Value: This plant has little resistance to damage from deer. Excellent forage for white-tailed deer. It is a host plant for the Cloudless Sulphur, Little Yellow and Sleepy Orange butterflies. Its seeds are eaten by songbirds, quail and wild turkey.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Mildew and leaf spot may appear. Partridge pea leaves and seeds contain a cathartic substance. This substance is effective either in fresh plant material or in dry hay. Domestic livestock will eat partridge pea leaves. However, if large quantities are consumed, the animal may be stressed and die.
- Summer, late summer
- 1-3 ft.
- Plant in groups
- USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9
- Partridge pea has pinnate-compound leaves, each leaf having 8-18 pairs of small, narrow, linear-oblong 2/3-inch long leaflets. Leaves will usually fold together (collapse) when touched giving rise to the common name of sensitive pea. Leaves are also sensitive to daylight, folding their leaflets in late afternoon each day as darkness approaches.
- Partridge pea has large, showy, yellow flowers (to 1” across) bloom from the upper leaf axils in short clusters (each to 2-6 flowers) from late June to September. Each flower has 5 rounded yellow petals and 10 stamens (6 red and 4 yellow). Its flowers are cross-pollinated by bees, flies, and ants. The fruit is a legume containing 9 to 15 seeds. The pod sides spiral to expel the seeds.
- Partridge pea is most common on sandy to sandy loam soils. It grows best in full sunlight and has low water requirements. The lower pH limit of partridge pea is 5.0. It is common in disturbed areas throughout its range. It often forms extensive colonies along firelines, roadside ditches, and old fields. It has low water requirements and will grow and produce seed under stressed conditions.
- USA, NC
- Roadsides and disturbed fields
- Poison Part:
- Poison Delivery Mode:
- Diarrhea after ingestion of many seeds
- Toxic Principle:
- TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN.
- Found in:
- Forest or natural area in open woods and woodland borders; weedy in disturbed areas along roadsides; landscape as native, herbaceous or woody ornamental flowering shrub
NCCES plant id: 995