Partridge Pea

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Scientific Name

patridge pea

Chamaecrista fasciculate (Michx.) Greene

Short Description

Partridge Pea is an annual legume with bright yellow flowers and a excellent food source for a variety of birds.  


Partridge Pea is an annual erect legume adapted to a wide geographic area from Maine to Florida, west to South Dakota and Colorado, south through central Texas.  It does not compete well in established grasslands but thrives in disturbed areas with an annual rainfall of 15 to 45 inches. Partridge pea grows on a wide range of soils but does best on neutral well drained sites. Partridge pea produces pods with multiple flat black seeds which open up and shatter the seed when mature.  It is a prolific seed producer and can become invasive after a few years.

Taxonomy of Partridge Pea

 Kingdom   Plantae 
 Subkingdom  Tracheobionta
 Superdivision   Spermatophyta 
 Division   Magnoliophyta
 Class  Magnoliopsida 
 Subclass      Asteridae    
 Order  Asterales   
 Family  Asteraceae  
 Genus   Chamaecrista
 Species  fasciculata (Michx.) Greene  

Plant Characteristics of Partridge Pea

 Height  16 to 48 inches  
 Growth habit  stems erect and branching
 Bloom color  bright yellow flowers one-inch wide in clusters of 2 to 7
 Bloom period  mid summer to early fall
 Sun requirement  full sun color
 Leaf foilage  green with 12 to 36 linear leaflet pairs
 Seeds per pound  65,000
 Minimum soil temperature for germination  55  ºF
 Soil pH range  5.5 to 7.5
 Planting Rate  3.5 oz/1000 sq ft or 10 lbs/acre
 Planting Depth   ¼ to ¾ inch
 Planting season  scarified seed: spring; unscarified seed: fall

*Special considerations for spring planting:  seed germination can be improved with mechanical scarification.  Seed needs to be inoculated with Rhizobium (EL-cowpea type) for nitrogen fixation to occur. Germination of scarified seed generally occurs within 2 weeks after planting provided adequate soil moisture and temperature conditions are met.

Uses of Partridge Pea


Attractive in mass plantings as well as in species mixes, fairly aggressive.


Seed is an excellent food source; insect attractant and cover for game birds.

Erosion Control

When combined with grasses, forbs, and legumes.

Commercially Available Cultivars of Partridge Pea

'Commanche' (released by James E. "Bud" Smith Plant Materials Center, Knox City, TX)

'Riley' (released by the Manhattan Plant Material Center, Manhattan, KS)

Partridge Pea Seedling and Growth Guide

8 days after planting

18 days after planting                                                           28 days after planting

                        34 days after planting                                                    65 days after planting