Peter Hoch and Quinn Long.
Peter Hoch and Quinn Long.
Frequent; sandy meadow with Panicum virgatum, Solidago spp., and Symphyotrichum spp.
Local name = Partridge pea.
Partridge Pea (Chamaescrita fasciculata)
20 September 2015: Walked about Ray Roberts Lake State Park, Isle du Bois Branch, Pilot Point, Denton County, Texas and came across several flora and fauna including this sample of a wildflower plant called Partridge Pea (Chamaescrita fasciculata). The plant grows to between one and three feet tall and its seeds are a vital food source for several kinds of birds especially quail (Bobwhites in particular), as the Partridge Pea seeds are high in phosphorous and protein content and are highly digestible. The seeds carry well through the winter apparently. This legume is also consumed by the Greater and Lesser Prairie-Chicken, Ring-necked Pheasant, Mallard, grasslands birds and field mice. Deer also eat it without being poisoned, but domestic cattle apparently cannot eat too much of the leaves of this wildflower plant because they may get stressed and die due to what’s referred to as a “cathartic substance,” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The plant bears a beautiful yellow flower that’s impossible to miss should you walk past it. Other popular names for this wildflower plant include Sleeping Plant, Prairie Partridge Pea, Showy Partridge Pea, Prairie Senna, Large-flowered Sensitive Pea, Dwarf Cassia, Partridge Pea Senna, Locust Weed, and Golden Cassia. Partridge Pea is planted in disturbed areas to control erosion, and provides an important food source for ants and the Common Sulphur butterfly which lays its eggs on the leaves of this plant and its larvae feed on its leaves as well.
The range map provided in one of the sources cited below and prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service, indicates that within the United States Partridge Pea is widely available throughout the eastern half of the continental United States with its range not extending in New England past New York and Massachusetts. Because the range indicated comes up against both the borders of Canada and Mexico, in the Great Lakes area in the former case and the Río Bravo/Río Grande in the latter’s case, we assume that Partridge Pea occurs in the provinces and states of both these respective neighboring countries of North America but the map provided here does not dwell on indicating as much. We could say that the map is narrowly conceived along national lines and borders. Still, it provides a strong indication that this wildflower extends as indicated into the territory of both Mexico and Canada. In Mexico surely its northeastern states of (north to south) Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas at least are likely home to this plant. Because of its extensive range in North America Partridge Pea is certainly an authentic resident of the Western Hemisphere.
“Chamaescrita fasciculate (Michx.) Greene Partridge Pea,” Plants Home, National Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture,” provides a range map for the United States of this wildflower, accessed 9.25.15, http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=chfa2
“Partridge Pea (Chamaescrita fasciculata),” Plant Guide, National Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, March 22, 2006, PDF copy of available online report with picture, does not discuss range of this plant, accessed 9.25.15, http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_chfa2.pdf
growing in the middle of a field off of Pepper Creek Trail with Eryngium leavenworthii and Euphorbia bicolor. Suprisingly no sandy soil was present yet they were looking great. Definitely well drained Blackland clay though
Chamaecrista fasciculata (Partridge Pea) is a species of legume native to most of the eastern United States. It is an annual which grows to approximately 0.5 meters tall. It has bright yellow flowers from early summer until first frost, with flowers through the entire flowering season if rainfall is sufficient.