Alternate name: Sleepingplant, Sensitive-plant
Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family
Description Partridge-pea is a slender-stemmed annual whose small, yellow-green leaflets fold together when touched. Large, showy, yellow flowers are marked with red at their throat.
Habit: native annual herb; stems erect or ascending, branching
freely from base; may form large colonies.
Height: to 3 ft (90 cm).
Leaf: alternate, pinnately compound, 1-3.5 in (2.5-9 cm) long; leaflets linear to oblong, to 1 in (25 mm) long and 0.125 in (3 mm) wide, in 5-18 pairs.
Flower: yellow, stalked, 1-1.5 in (2.5-4 cm) wide; with 5 nearly equal petals, 10 unequal stamens; in leafy cluster, 1-6 in (2.5-15 cm) long, from leaf axil.
Fruit: flat linear pod, 1-3 in (2.5-7.5 cm) long, to 0.25 in (6 mm) wide.
Flower June to October.
Flower June - October (in south); July - August (in north).
Habitat Open, dry, sandy sites: prairies, bluffs, river banks, bottom lands, flatwoods, forest edges, old fields, pastures, ditches, roadsides, disturbed sites; also grown as an ornamental or for honey production.
Range Native to eastern and central U.S., from New York and Massachusetts, south to Florida, west to New Mexico, northeast to South Dakota and Minnesota.
Discussion Also called sleeping plant, sensitive plant, showy partridge pea, prairie partridge pea, large-flowered sensitive-pea, sensitive plant, partridge pea senna, prairie senna, dwarf cassia, golden cassia, locust weed. Two varieties are proposed. One variety is endangered in Maryland. Considered weedy or invasive in some areas.
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 plants root system and produce nitrogen compounds necessary for the plants survival.
Comments Leaves collapse when touched, giving rise to the common name Sensitive-plant. This wildflower provides bright summer color. Like other members of the pea family, Partridge-pea requires the presense of microorganisms which inhabit nodules on the plant's root system and produce nitrogen compounds necessary for the plant's survival. Soil/seed inoculum is available at most native plant nurseries.
Exposure Preference Sun to partial sun.
Native Distribution Massachusetts to Florida Panhandle, w. to Minnesota, e. Nebraska, Oklahoma & extreme e. Texas.
Site Preference Upland prairies; woodland edges.
Soil Preference Dry, deep, sandy, well-drained soils.
Wildlife Value Flowers attract bees and butterflies. Seed pods are eaten by gamebirds and songbirds. The plant provides excellent cover for gamebirds and browse for deer.