Chamaecrista fasciculata

Partridge Pea

$3.00 - $3.50

1 oz.

Partridge Pea's yellow flowers with deep-red stamens are not only a cheery summer plant, but are great favorites of bees and other pollinators. The plant’s visual appeal is enhanced by its symmetrical foliage, with blue-green leaves oppositely arranged in groups of 8-15 pairs.  The leaves retreat when touched so another name that may be used is Sensitive Plant.  These leaves are the larval host for the Little YellowSleepy Orange and Orange Sulfur butterflies.  Partridge Pea is an annual and a legume so fixes soil nitrogen and forms attractive maroon seed pods in the fall, from which it readily self-seeds in medium to dry soils, growing to 2’ in height.  These seed pods are excellent food for game birds and songbirds that spend the winter with us. It is native to much of the eastern half of the US.  It was formerly called Cassia fasciculata.

Species of genus Chamaecrista are legumes. Most legume species harbor beneficial bacteria called rhizobia on their roots. Genus-specific strains of this bacterium called inoculum can aid in the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen and improve long-term health of native plant communities. Inoculum is naturally-occurring in most soils and additional amendment is usually not needed. However, in low fertility soils it may be necessary. Genus-specific strains are available at

Chamaecrista fasciculata - Partridge Pea

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

8 Questions asked on Chamaecrista fasciculata

Chamaecrista fasciculata. Is this a perennial plant?
No, it is an annual. But it will self-seed well in a prairie or garden environment. We see it appear every year in both settings.
Could Partridge Pea be used as a cover crop for a native garden and rain garden that cannot be planted til the spring of 2020? Can you suggest other native plants that could be used as cover crops. Public Works will be doing the dig and build, but we have no idea when.
Yes, as an annual, Partridge Pea is inexpensive and a good choice for holding space in a spot that will be landscaped after one growing season. Another cheap annual/biennial to consider would be Black-eyed Susan.

A cover crop of Oats could also be an inexpensive, but non-native alternative for a temporary, quickly-establishing cover.

It's mid-June, if I start partridge pea seeds now will they have time to flower and go to seed before winter? Or should I wait and start them early next spring?
It's possible. If you are using our free seed packet that came with a previous order it was not scarified, so we would suggest first scratching the hard seed coat with sand paper. It will also benefit from about 10 days of artificial stratification; place the scarified seed in the fridge with slightly damp seed starting media for 10 days. If the outdoor planting site will be very hot and sunny, shade the site in July if possible. I do think you could have blooms by August/September. Allow the plant to re-seed and you should have more plants next year.
I tried to grow these from seed and they came up but then disappeared. I believe they were tasty for some of my little visitors in the yard. Any way to grow these for more than just salad bar for the visitors?
Keep in mind this is an annual species so it will live out its complete life cycle in one year then disappear. It should readily self-seed in appropriate environments. You can employ typical methods for overcoming animal browsing - increasing your seeding rate, fencing, hot pepper sprays, etc. You could try seeding Allium species with your partridge pea - the wild onions may deter unwanted feeders!
Can they be fall seeded in Southerm Middle Tennesee?
Hi Mike, Yes, that should work well!
Can you sow them in the fall without scarification?
Yes! Scarification on legume seed is really only needed if you are spring sowing and hope for germination that spring/summer. The freeze-thaw cycles and time on the ground late fall through spring should scarify the seed coats naturally.
When buying this seed, does it come with the rhizobium inoculum bacteria?
Hi Cole. The rhizobium inoculum is sold separate from the Patridge Pea (and other legume) seed.
Does it seem like a good idea to plant some of these in a raised garden bed for soil health, or do they self seed too aggressively for that to make sense? I like the idea of little friends popping up every year to help keep the soil happy :)
We absolutely LOVE this depiction, Tara! Partridge Peas are annual plants that, although they do self-sow, we have never found their numbers to be too overwhelming. They are also easy to control by weeding or removing the lovely seedpods before they ripen.


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Full, Partial
Soil Moisture
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
2 feet
Bloom Time
July, August, September
Bloom Color
Pollinator Favorite: butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, beetles
Bird Favorite: seeds, insects, fruit, nectar, nesting, perch
Deer Resistant
Highly recommended for home landscaping
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code