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Chamaecrista fasciculata (Partridge pea)
Holmes, James Garland

Chamaecrista fasciculata

Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michx.) Greene

Partridge Pea, Sleepingplant, Sensitive Plant

Fabaceae (Pea Family)


USDA Symbol: CHFA2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Sleepingplant or partridge-pea is a slender-stemmed, 1-3 ft. annual with pinnately-compound leaves bearing many small, yellow-green leaflets which fold together when touched. Large, showy, yellow flowers arise from leaf axils. Each flower is marked with red and is followed by a narrow pod.

This wildflower provides bright summer color, and the flowers attract bees and butterflies. Seed pods are eaten by gamebirds and songbirds, and the plant provides excellent cover for gamebirds and browse for deer. Leaves collapse when touched, giving rise to the common name Sensitive-plant. Like other members of the pea family, Partridge-pea requires the presense of microorganisms that inhabit nodules on the plant's root system and produce nitrogen compounds necessary for the plant's survival.


From the Image Gallery

50 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Flower: Flowers 1/2 inch

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , WI , WV
Native Distribution: MA to FL Panhandle, w. to MN, e. NE, OK & extreme e. TX
Native Habitat: Open woodlands, Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Dry, deep, sandy, well-drained soils. Clay, Clay Loam, Medium Loam, Sandy Loam, Sandy, Acid-based, Calcareous


Use Ornamental: Showy, Color, Wildflower meadow, Border
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Bees, Nectar-Butterflies, Seeds-Granivorous birds, Nectar-ants.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Cloudless giant sulphur, Orange sulphur, Sleepy orange butterflies.
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: No

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Orange Sulphur
(Colias eurytheme)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Sleepy Orange
(Abaeis nicippe)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagate by seed.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Wellspring Organic Farm and Education Center - West Bend, WI

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-0149 Collected 2007-09-04 in County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Research Literature

Reslit 482 - Population differentiation in an annual legume: Local adaptation (2000) L. F. Galloway and C. B. Fenster
Reslit 483 - Nuclear and cytoplasmic contributions to intraspecific divergence in an annual legume (2001) L. F. Galloway and C. B. Fenster
Reslit 481 - The effect of nuclear and cytoplasmic genes on fitness and local adaptation in an annual legume, Chamaecrista fasciculata (1999) L. F. Galloway and C. B. Fenster
Reslit 473 - Establishing vegetation on migrating inland sand dunes in Texas (2006) T. E. Fulbright, J. A. Ortega-Santos, A. Lozano-Ca...
Reslit 439 - Quantifying gene flow from spatial genetic structure data in a metapopulation of Chamaecrista fasciculata (Leguminosae) (2003) C. B. Fenster, X. Vekemans and O. J. Hardy
Reslit 436 - Inbreeding and outbreeding depression in natural populations of Chamaecrista fasciculata (Fabaceae) (2000) C. B. Fenster and L. F. Galloway
Reslit 437 - Population differentiation in an annual legume: Genetic architecture (2000) C. B. Fenster and L. F. Galloway
Reslit 421 - Evolutionary potential of Chamaecrista fasciculata in relation to climate change. II. Genetic architecture of three populations reciprocally planted along an environmental gradient in the great plains (2004) J. R. Etterson
Reslit 420 - Evolutionary potential of Chamaecrista fasciculata in relation to climate change. 1. Clinal patterns of selection along an environmental gradient in the great plains (2004) J. R. Etterson
Reslit 405 - Intraspecific hybridization and the recovery of fitness in the native legume Chamaecrista fasciculata (2006) D. L. Erickson and C. B. Fenster

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

USDA: Find Chamaecrista fasciculata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Chamaecrista fasciculata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Chamaecrista fasciculata


Record Modified: 2017-11-09
Research By: TWC Staff

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