For Your Garden - February 2015
Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases.
partridge pea (Chamaechrista fasciculata)
Photo © Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Partridge pea grows statewide in fields, prairies and open areas. Flowering occurs from June through October. Unlike most native prairie wildflowers, it is an annual, arising from seeds each year. A plant may reach two feet in height. The leaves are arranged alternately on the stem. These compound leaves have 20 to 30 leaflets. The leaves are sensitive to touch and may close or wilt when touched. The flowers are yellow and arise from thin stalks. Two to four flowers are found per leaf axil. The fruit is a narrow, flat hairy pod. These plants are good for wildlife. Bees are attracted to the flowers, birds eat the seeds and the foliage provides shelter for small animals.
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.