Chamaecrista fasciculata

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Chamaecrista fasciculata
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Photo taken by Michelle M. Smith
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae ⁄ Leguminosae
Genus: Chamaecrista
Species: C. fasciculata
Binomial name
Chamaecrista fasciculata
(Michx.) Greene
Cham fasc dist.jpg
Natural range of Chamaecrista fasciculata from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Partridge pea

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Chamaecrista fasciculata var. fasciculata; Chamaecrista littoralis Pollard; Chamaecrista mississipiensis (Pollard) Pollard ex Heller; Chamaecrista fasciculata; Cassia fasciculata Michaux var. puberula (Greene) J.F. Macbride; Chamaecrista puberula Greene

Varieties: Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michaux) Greene var. brachiata (Pollard) Isely, Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michaux) Greene var. macrosperma (Fernald) C.F. Reed


Generally, in the group Chameacrista it includes trees, shrubs, or herbs. The leaves are evenly 1-pinnate with conspicuous gland(s) on the petiole or rachis. The flowers are either solitary or clustered in axillary racemes or terminal panicles, perfect. The calyx has an inconspicuous tube, 5 lobed, equally imbricate, and often unequal. There are 5 petals and are a little unequal. The stamens 5-10, are often unequal and some are sterile or imperfect. The anthers are basifixed and opening by 2 apical pores. The legume is few-to many-seeded, often septate, and exceedingly variable. Including Chamaecrista Moench, Ditremexa Raf., Emelista Raf. [1]

Specfically, for Chameacrista fasciculata, the species is an annual herb, growing 1.5-6 dm tall from the taproot. The stems and branches are glabrous to more commonly densely puberulent with incurved trichomes and occasionally also with villous trichomes to 2 mm long. The leaves are sensitive with a sessile, depressed, saucer-shaped gland, 0.5-1.5 mm in diam. near the middle of the petiole. Leaflets 12-36, linear-oblong, 1-2.5 cm long, 2-6 mm wide, inequilateral; stipules persistent, striate. Inflorescence are 1-6 flowered axillary fascicle. Pedicels grow up to 1-2 cm long. Sepals are lanceolate in shape, growing 9-12 mm long, and are acute. Petals are bright yellow in color, almost equal, growing 1-2 cm long; stamens 10, unequal, growing 10-13 mm long. The legume are elastically dehiscent, growing 3-7 cm long, and 5-7 mm broad, and are glabrate or appressed-puberulent to villous. [1]




C. fasciculata has been observed flowering between April and September with peak inflorescence from June to August.[2]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by consumption by vertebrates. [3]


The following Hymenoptera families and species were observed visiting flowers of Chamaecrista fasciculata at Archbold Biological Station:[4]

Apidae: Apis mellifera, Bombus impatiens

Halictidae: Augochlora pura, Augochloropsis metallica, A. sumptuosa, Lasioglossum coreopsis, L. placidensis

Megachilidae: Coelioxys sayi, Megachile mendica, M. texana

Vespidae: Stenodynerus histrionalis rufustus

Use by animals

C. fasciculata has raised glands on its petioles that excrete a nectar that attracts predatory ants, with the presumed adaptive benefit of encouraging ants to prey on herbivores.[5] The glands have also been observed to attract bees and wasps, presumably with the same benefit to the plant.[6]

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 577-8. Print.
  2. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 7 DEC 2016
  3. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  4. Deyrup, M.A. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.
  5. Boecklen, W.J. 1984. The role of extrafloral nectaries in the herbivore defence of Cassia fasciculata. Ecological Entomology 9:243-249.
  6. David McElveen and Kevin Robertson observation on Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, Florida, July 17 and 20, 2018.