Partridge Pea (Fasciculata)

The Partridge Pea (Fasciculata) is generally described as an annual forb/herb. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the spring . The Partridge Pea (Fasciculata) has green foliage and inconspicuous yellow flowers, with an abuncance of conspicuous black fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the early summer, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until summer. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Partridge Pea (Fasciculata) has a short life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Partridge Pea (Fasciculata) will reach up to 2.4 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 0 inches.

The Partridge Pea (Fasciculata) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by seed. It has a rapid ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have high vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -3°F. has medium tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Wildlife: This plant provides food for birds. The seed is one of the major food items of northern bobwhite and quail because it remains in sound condition throughout the winter and early spring.

Erosion control: The plant can be used along road banks and stream banks to control erosion.

Recreation and beautification: The flowers of this plant can be used to beautify areas where wildflowers are planted.

General Characteristics

Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michx.) Greene, showy partridge pea, is an annual suberect 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 1½ to 2½ inches long, which splits along 2 sutures as it dries; the pod sides spiral to expel the seeds. The highest seed production has been obtained under 30% shade, followed in decreasing order by 55% shade, full sunlight, and dense shade

Required Growing Conditions

This plant grows on a wide range of soils that are slightly acid to moderately alkaline. However, it grows best on moderately lime, well drained soils. It is important to use an adapted strain to ensure that successful reseeding will occur.

Showy partridge is distributed throughout the eastern and midwest United States.

Cultivation and Care

Established stands should be disked lightly in the spring to expose mineral soil on which the seed can germinate. Drill seeds at 1/4 to 3/4 inch deep at a rate of 10 pounds per acre. If broadcast, seed rate should be increased and seed covered by lightly disking or by cultipacking. Planting should be conducted late winter (March) to late spring (May) while soil moisture is still high. Germination is improved by scarification of the seed prior to planting. Seed should also be inoculated with the correct rhizobial bacteria before planting. Fertilizer should be applied at the recommended rate, based on soil samples, at time of planting.

General Upkeep and Control

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 plantings or natural 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 the partridge pea.

Pests and Potential Problems No pests reported at this time. Some sources report that this species has invasive qualities. See the PLANTS Plant Profile for this species.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) ‘Comanche’ (TX) and Lark Selection (AR),a selected class release from the Jamie L. Whitten Plant Materials Center in MS. ‘Comanche’ (variety) and Lark Selection (a selected class release from the Jamie L. Whitten Plant Materials Center (MS)).

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Rapid
General Type Forb/herb
Growth Period Spring
Growth Duration Annual
Lifespan Short
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Early Summer
Displays Fall Colors No
Shape/Growth Form Bunch
Drought Tolerance Medium
Shade Tolerance Tolerant
Height When Mature 2.4
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color Yellow
Flower Conspicuousness Yes
Fruit/Seed Abundance High
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Summer
Seed Spread Rate Rapid
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Seed
Moisture Requirements Medium
Cold Stratification Required No
Minimum Temperature -3
Soil Depth for Roots 14
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Regrowth Rate None
After-Harvest Resprout Ability No
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 5.5–7.5 pH
Precipitation Range 14–14 inches/yr
Planting Density 0–0 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 14
Minimum Frost-Free Days 130 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance None
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability High
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating None

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA