Chamaecrista fasciculata Partridge Pea Seed
(Cassia)
kam-ay-KRIS-tuh  fas-sik-yoo-LAH-tuh

Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers
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Chamaecrista fasciculata 
partridge pea
C. A. Rechenthin

Habitat Bloom
Period
Color Height Inches Moisture Plant Spacing Lifespan
Chamaecrista fasiculata partridge Pea picture Sun to light Shade  June
September
Yellow 12 to 36 Average 6 to 18  Inches Annual

 Chamaecrista fasciculata Partridge Pea Flower picture Click on picture for larger image

Chamaecrista = From the Greek chamai (dwarf) and crista (crest)

fasciculata = Banded, bundled

Chamaecrista fasciculata partridge pea


 
 For other native wildflowers visit the wildflower seed list or potted plant list, to order copy the orderform or email questions, comments, and orders for Chamaecrista fasciculata partridge pea seed to john@easywildflowers.com  
     

 Chamaecrista fasciculata seed
partridge pea seed

approximate
number of seeds

approximate coverage
in square feet

1 packet -  $2.50

100 15 sq ft

1 ounce -  $5.00

4000 190 sq ft

1 pound   $22.00

 64,000 3,000 sq ft

    Chamaecrista fasciculata is also known as Cassia chamaecrista, Cassia fasciculata, sleeping plant, prairie partridge pea, showy partridge pea, prairie senna, large-flowered sensitive-pea, dwarf cassia, partridge pea senna, locust weed, golden cassia

   Partridge Pea is useful for wildlife habitat improvement, erosion control, recreational area plantings and roadside beautification.  The seed is one of the major food items of northern bobwhite and other quail species because it remains in sound condition throughout the winter and early spring.  Partridge pea was found to be one of the most important fall and winter foods of bobwhite quail in Alabama.  Partridge pea seeds are high in phosphorus content and protein value, and low in crude fiber and lignin making digestibility generally high.  Seeds of this legume are also eaten by the greater and lesser prairie-chicken, ring-necked pheasant, mallard, grassland birds, and field mice.  Deer can eat it without being poisoned (note livestock use).  Partridge pea often grows in dense stands, producing litter and plant stalks that furnish cover for upland game birds, small mammals, small non-game birds, and waterfowl.

    Partridge pea is considered an important honey plant, often occurring where few other honey plants are found.  Nectar is not available in the flowers of showy partridge pea but is produced by small orange glands at the base of each leaf.  Ants often seek the nectar and are frequent visitors. The common sulfur butterfly lays its eggs on the leaves, and the larvae use the leaves as a food source
Erosion control: The plant can be used along road banks and stream banks to control erosion.  Partridge pea most commonly occurs as a pioneer or colonizer of disturbed areas.

    Recreation and beautification: The flowers of this plant can be used to beautify areas where wildflowers are planted.  The foliage is somewhat sensitive and will partially close when touched. Partridge pea is commonly grown as an ornamental. The bright yellow flowers make it a popular choice for use in native gardens. 

    Ethnobotanic: Cherokee Drug (Sports Medicine):
root medicine used to keep ball players from tiring.
Cherokee Drug (Stimulant): compound infusion given for fainting spells.  Seminole Drug (Antiemetic): cold decoction of plant used for nausea.  Seminole Other (Tools): plants used as a bed for ripening persimmons.

    Livestock: Although partridge pea foliage is nutritious, it can be poisonous and should be considered potentially dangerous to cattle. 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. 

   Restoration: Partridge pea 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.  Nitrogen fixation is greatest during the flowering stage.  To help prevent weed establishment and control soil erosion along county roadsides in Iowa, partridge pea is often included in the seed mix with other forbs and grasses.

   Chamaecrista fasciculata is in the Pea Family (Fabaceae). Partridge pea is an annual sub-erect native legume plant that reaches a height of 1 to 3 feet.  The leaves consist of 10 to 15 pairs of small, narrow leaflets that are somewhat delicate to the touch.  The showy yellow flowers, about 1 inch across, grow 2 to 4 together in clusters on the stem.  Flowers normally bloom July-September.  The fruit is a straight, narrow pod 1 to 2 inches long, which splits along 2 sutures as it dries; the pod sides spiral to expel the seeds some distance from the parent plant. 

    Partridge pea grows on prairies, bluffs, riverbanks and river bottoms, as well as upland woods of the Great Plains.  Partridge pea is common on sandy savannahs of the lower Gulf Coastal Plain.  Partridge pea is most common on sandy to sandy loam soils.  It grows best in full sunlight but will survive under shady conditions.  Partridge pea has low water requirements and will grow and produce seed under stressed conditions.  The lower pH limit of showy partridge pea is 5.0.

   The USDA hardiness zones for showy partridge pea are 3 to 9.  It is distributed throughout the Midwest, eastern, and southern United States.  

    Drill seeds at 1/4 to 3/4 inch deep at a rate of 10-15 pounds of Pure live Seed (PLS) per acre.  If broadcasting seeds, the rate should be increased and seed covered by lightly disking or by cultipacking.  Partridge pea can be planted from late winter (March) to late spring (May).  Scarification will improve germination of seed, but it is not necessary to establish plantings of partridge pea.  Seed should also be inoculated with the correct species of rhizobium before planting.  Fertilizer should be applied at the recommended rate, based on soil samples, at time of planting.

    Established stands should be disked lightly in the spring to expose mineral soil on which the seed can germinate.  Partridge pea usually reseeds but will gradually disappear without regular maintenance.  Light disking to remove weeds, small brush, and old sod is necessary for healthy stands.  In areas where prescribed burning is permitted, controlled fire is an excellent method for controlling unwanted vegetation.  Fire or disking should be done in late winter for best results.  Weeds can also be controlled during the growing season by mowing over the top of partridge pea plants.

     Showy partridge pea seed can be cold moist stratified for 56 days to improve germination.  Under controlled conditions germination occurs at an alternating cycle of 30oC daytime and 15oC nighttime temperatures.  The optimum soil temperature for germination is 20oC to 30oC.  Seventy percent of seeds will germinate in 7 to 25 days.  The seed count of partridge pea is approximately 62,000 seeds per pound from cultivated plants.

    Seed for production fields should be planted to inches deep on raised beds 36-40 inches apart. The seeding rate for seed production is 2-3 pounds PLS per acre.  Being a legume that fixes nitrogen partridge pea only needs one 20-pound application of phosphorous applied in the spring each year.  Seeds are ready for harvest in late October and November.  Partridge pea may be direct harvested with a combine or plants may be swathed and combined after drying.

   Chamaecrista fasciculata partridge pea grows wild throughout the Midwest, eastern, and southern United States in zones 3 to 9

Chamaecrista fasciculata partridge pea

     

Chamaecrista fasciculata partridge pea plant distribution map


Use the chart below for shipping charges on
Chamaecrista fasciculata partridge pea flower seeds, to order copy the order form or email questions, comments & orders to john@easywildflowers.com

The minimum seed order amount is $10, this can be a combination of different seeds.

subtotal for flower seeds 

shipping charge for seeds

seed orders up to  $20.00    =    $3.00 shipping
$20.01 - $50.00    =    $4.00 shipping
$50.01-$100.00    =    $5.00 shipping

over $100.00    =    5 % of subtotal

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 Chamaecrista fasciculata partridge pea plant distribution map complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
  (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.