Monday, February 22, 2016

Class of 2016 -- Chamaecrista fasciculata, partridge pea, sensitive plant

Partridge pea, Chamaecrista fasciculata, photo by Fritz Flohr Reynolds via Wikimedia Commons

Why I'm growing Chamaecrista fasciculata in my garden...

1) It is native to Tennessee and throughout most of Eastern and Central North America.

2) The USDA says that partridge pea seeds provide food for quail, prairie-chickens, pheasants, ducks and other grassland birds, while nectar from glands at the base of each leaf provide nutrition for bees.

3) Although I usually favor perennials, I'm willing to take a chance on this annual. Andrea DeLong-Amaya at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center told me that partridge pea is a drought-resistant annual that self sows reliably enough to persist in the garden for years.

4) DeLong-Amaya also mentioned that partridge pea is a larval food plant for several species of sulphur butterflies, including the cloudless orange and sleepy orange.

5) In photos I've seen, the flowers, seedpods and foliage all look gorgeous.

Do you grow partridge pea? If so, what has been your experience with this plant?