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Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michx.) Greene

Partridge pea

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderFabalesLegumes (pea and bean families)
FamilyFabaceaeLegume family (peas and beans)
GenusChamaecristaFrom Greek chamae, “low growth,” and crista, “crested.”
SpeciesfasciculataDerived from a Latin word meaning “bundles” and describing the way the leaves are attached to the leaf stem in little bunches or “fascicles”

About plant names...

This annual plant is native to North America. It prefers open woods, praries, meadows, and plains. It colonizes disturbed areas quickly, and thrives on poor soils.

Plants: Up to 2½′ (80 cm) in size. Stems are light green, becoming reddish brown over time.

Leaves: Alternate, pinnate-compound leaves. Each leaf hs 8-18 pairs of narrow leaflets that are linear or oblong and up to ⅝″ (1.7 cm) long. Leaves often fold together when touched, hence the name “sensitive pea.”

Flowers: Bright yellow flowers are up to 1″ (2.5 cm) across, with five petals that don’t quite match in size and shape. Each flower has 10 reddish stamens, and the base of some petals is bright red. Flowers appear from early summer to until the first frost. The flower’s greenish-yellow anthers produce pollen. It also has purple anthers that produce food pollen

Fruits: Narrow, flattened, dehiscent seed pods that are 2½ ⨉ ¾″ (6.3 ⨉ 1.9 cm).

Online References:

Illinois Wildflowers

The Missouri Botanical Garden


Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)

7/3/2012 · By Jacquelyn Boyt


Chamaecrista fasciculata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 8 Sep 2023.

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Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)

7/3/2012 · By Jacquelyn Boyt

Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)

8/2/2013 · By Jacquelyn Boyt

Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)

7/3/2012 · By Jacquelyn Boyt


About this map...