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Partridge Pea

Common Name: Partridge Pea.

Scientific Name: Chamaecrista Fasciculata.

What to look for?  Yellow flowers with a spot of red sitting within a feathery sea of green leaves. Partridge Pea has a slender stem that is inclined to sprawl. This plant has showy compound leaves that bear many small, pairs of greenish-yellow leaflets. And when these leaflets are touched, they fold together. Partridge Pea plants have large, splendid, yellow flowers. Each flower has a red mark on its yellow petals. There is no floral scent. The seeds are dark brown. The root system consists of a central taproot and smaller auxiliary roots.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? ? Partridge Pea may be found growing sporadically in fields around our ponds and the forest preserve.

How big are they? Partridge Pea are approximately one (1) to two (2) feet tall. The composite leaves are up to six (6) inches long and have a dozen or more leaflets that are two-thirds (0.66) of one inch in length. The flowers are one (1) inch across.

Where do they grow and thrive? Partridge Pea are native to the U.S. They are found from the Great Plains across to the eastern U.S. Native habitats include prairies, grasslands, rocky open woods, upland slopes, ridges, bluffs, rocky fields, and open thickets.

When do they bloom? The Partridge Pea blooms from mid-summer into fall.

Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? Honeybees, bumblebees, and other long-tongued bees are attracted to the food pollen of the Partridge Pea’s purple anthers and are then dusted by the reproductive pollen of the yellow anthers. The petiolar nectaries attract a different assortment of insects, which includes Halictid bees, wasps, flies, and ants. The caterpillars of several sulfur butterflies feed on the foliage of this plant. White-Tailed Deer occasionally browse on the foliage.

Interesting Facts About the Partridge Pea:

  • Genus name “Chamaecrista” come from the Greek words “chamae” meaning low growth and “crista” meaning crested.

  • Specific epithet “Fasciculata” means banded or bundled nerve fibers in reference to the sensitivity of the leaflets, which collapse when touched.

For more information on the Partridge Pea and sources of information used in this blog (these are several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois Wildflowers, Minnesota Wildflowers, Missouri Department of Conservation, and University of Texas Wildflower Center.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.


Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!

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