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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plant Profile: Partridge Pea

Partridge Pea  (Chamaecrista fasciculata)

This plant sparkles in late summer and early fall when yellow flowers adorn its upright V-shaped branches.  Partridge pea can form large colonies in open fields, where it attracts many bees, wasps and butterflies.  It is found throughout the state in many habitats. This wildflower is a larval host plant for Cloudless Sulphur and Little Yellow butterflies.

The showy flowers have 10 long curved stamens, and petals often have reddish spots at their base.  Leaves are typical of the pea family, with a linear shape and compound arrangement; and flowers are followed by a narrow  “pea” pod containing seeds for the next season.

Hardiness: Drought tolerant, salt tolerant
Growth Habit:  1 to 4 feet tall in varied forms from upright V-shaped to spreading.
Soil: Sandy, well-drained
Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Uses: An easy to grow annual or short-lived perennial. It may bloom year-round in South Florida. In North and Central Florida, it emerges in summer, flowers in fall and dies to the ground after frost.

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