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SPECIES:  Chamaecrista fasciculata
Photo by Clarence A. Rechenthin, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

Introductory

SPECIES: Chamaecrista fasciculata
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Tesky, Julie L. 1992. Chamaecrista fasciculata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/chafas/all.html []. Revisions: On 3 November 2015, the common and scientific names of this species were changed from: showy partridgepea, Cassia fasciculata to: partridgepea, Chamaecrista fasciculata Citations were added [40,43] to support this change.
ABBREVIATION : CHAFAS SYNONYMS : Cassia chamaecrista L. documented in [40] Cassia fasciculata Michx. [4,13,18] Cassia fasciculata forma mutata Fern. Cassia fasciculata forma transmutata Fern. Cassia fasciculata var. fasciculata Cassia fasciculata var. brachiata (Pollard) Pullen ex Isely Cassia fasciculata var. depressa (Pollard) Macbr Cassia fasciculata var. macrosperma Fern. Cassia fasciculata var. puberula (Greene) J. F. Macbr. Cassia fasciculata var. robusta Pollard Cassia fasciculata var. rostrata (Woot. & Standl.) B. L. Turner [4,13,16,18,27] NRCS PLANT CODE : [40] CAFA CAFAF CAFAM2 COMMON NAMES : partridge pea dwarf cassia golden cassia large-flowered sensitive-pea locust weed partridgepea senna prairie partridgepea prairie senna showy partridgepea sleepingplant TAXONOMY : The scientific name of partridge pea is Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michx.) Greene (Fabaceae). There are 2 varieties [40,43]: Chamaecrista fasciculata var. fasciculata Chamaecrista fasciculata var. macrosperma (Fernald) C.F. Reed LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Chamaecrista fasciculata
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Partridge pea is found throughout the central, south-central, and eastern United States. It also extends north from South Dakota to southern Ontario, and east to New York [16,30]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES31 Shinnery FRES32 Texas savanna FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie FRES41 Wet grasslands STATES : AL AK AR CT DE FL GA IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO NE NH NJ NY NC OH OK PA RI SC SD TN TX VT VA WV WI ON PE PQ BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 14 Great Plains 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K059 Trans-Pecos shrub savanna K062 Mesquite - live oak savanna K069 Bluestem - grama prairie K071 Shinnery K074 Bluestem prairie K075 Nebraska Sandhills prairie K076 Blackland prairie K077 Bluestem - sacahuista prairie K081 Oak savanna K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100 K084 Cross Timbers K086 Juniper - oak savanna K087 Mesquite - oak savanna K089 Black belt K090 Live oak - sea oats K100 Oak - hickory forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest K115 Sand pine scrub SAF COVER TYPES : 40 Post oak - blackjack oak 45 Pitch pine 52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak 53 White oak 64 Sassafras - persimmon 69 Sand pine 70 Longleaf pine 71 Longleaf pine - scrub oak 75 Shortleaf pine 76 Shortleaf pine - oak 78 Virginia pine - oak 79 Virginia pine 80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine 81 Loblolly pine 82 Loblolly pine - hardwood 83 Longleaf pine - slash pine 84 Slash pine 85 Slash pine - hardwood 89 Live oak 98 Pond pine 110 Black oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : A published classification listing showy partridge pea as an understory dominant is listed below: Landscape ecosystem classification for South Carolina - Jones 1991

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Chamaecrista fasciculata
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Partridge pea seeds are a valuable food for northern bobwhite in the Southeast [21,24,34]. Wild legumes, including showy partridge pea, were found to be the most important fall and winter foods of northern bobwhite in the Alabama Piedmont forests of slash pine (Pinus elliottii), loblolly pine (P. taeda), and shortleaf pine (P. echinata) [34]. Seeds of this legume are also eaten by the greater and lesser prairie-chicken, ring-necked pheasant, mallard, brown thrasher, cotton rat, and field mouse [15,29]. The seeds have been found in the food caches of Louisiana pocket gopher [15]. A cathartic substance is present in the leaves and seeds of partridge pea. The substance is effective either in fresh plant material or in dry hay [19,39]. Domestic livestock will eat partridge pea leaves. However, if large quantities are consumed, the animal may be stressed and die. Deer can eat it without being poisoned [5,39]. PALATABILITY : Partridge pea leaves and seeds are presumably palatable to some wildlife species and livestock. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Partridge pea seeds are high in phosphorus content and protein value, and low in crude fiber and lignin. Digestibility of legumes is generally high [31]. COVER VALUE : Partridge pea often grows in dense stands, producing litter and plant stalks that furnish cover for upland gamebirds, small mammals, small nongame birds, and waterfowl [15,39]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Partridge pea is considered an excellent species for planting on disturbed areas for erosion control and improving soil fertility. It establishes rapidly, fixes nitrogen, reseeds, and slowly decreases as other species in the seeding mix begin to dominate the site [8,33]. In one study, partridge pea had a nitrogen-fixing potential of 25.9 to 87.0 micro-moles of acetylene daily per plant. It had the fastest growth rate and the greatest nitrogen-fixing potential of the five leguminous species studied. Nitrogen fixation was greatest during the flowering stage [6]. Seeds of partridge pea are readily available from commercial seed sources [39]. It has been seeded on soil-lignite overburden, and in the post oak (Quercus stellata) savannah of Texas, where it grew rapidly and had the greatest aerial cover and aboveground biomass of all seeded forbs during the first growing season. It slowly gave way to developing perennials over a period of 3 to 4 years [33]. To prevent weed establishment and control soil erosion along county roadsides in Iowa, partridge pea is often included in the seed mix with other forbs and grasses [11]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Partridge pea is commonly grown as an ornamental [39]. In Georgia and Florida it is considered an important honey plant, often occurring where few other honey plants are found. Nectar is not available in the flowers of partridge pea but is supplied by the petiolar glands [15,39]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Although partridge pea foliage is nutritious, it can be poisonous and should be considered potentially dangerous to cattle (see Importance to Livestock and Wildlife) [16].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Chamaecrista fasciculata
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Partridge pea is a native annual legume [15,16,30,39]. It ranges in height from 0.6 inch to 3 feet (0.15-0.91 m) but usually grows to 2 feet (0.61 m) [16,39]. The stems are erect or ascending, branching freely from the base. The leaves are 1.18 to 3.34 inches (3-11 cm) long. Partridge pea has a taproot. Secondary roots are well developed, forming a fibrous root system [6]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Therophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Flowers and Fruit: Partridge pea flowers are cross-pollinated by bees, flies, and ants [4]. The fruit is a legume containing 9 to 15 seeds [39]. Seeds are ingested and dispersed in droppings of birds and small mammals [15,16,39]. Seed germination: Germination is improved by scarification and stratification [25,39]. Boiling partridge pea seeds for 15 to 60 seconds softens the seed coat and increases germination. Nicking the seed with a razor blade will also increase germination [25]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Partridge pea is common on disturbed areas throughout its range. It often forms extensive colonies along firelines, roadside ditches, and old fields [16,39]. It grows on prairies, bluffs, riverbanks and riverbottoms, as well as upland woods of the Great Plains [39]. Partridge pea is common on sandy flatwoods of xerophytic deciduous and coniferous forests in the uplands of the lower Gulf Coastal Plain [26]. Soils: Partridge pea is most common on sandy to sandy loam soils [30,39]. It grows best in full sunlight and has low water requirements [30]. The lower pH limit of partridge pea is 5.0 [41]. Associate species: Partridge pea is often found associated with the following species: purpletop (Tridens flavus), wild-honeysuckle (Gaura filiformis), Canadian horseweed (Conyza canadensis), threeawn (Aristida desmantha), rough bottonweed (Diodia teres), broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), sumac (Rhus spp.), blackberry (Rubus spp.), panicgrass (Panicum spp.), indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), sensitive partridge pea (Chamaecrista nictitans), lespedeza (Lespedeza spp.), and ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) [3,32]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Partridge pea most commonly occurs as a pioneer or colonizer of disturbed areas. It also occupies but is less abundant in mid- to late-seral stages of grassland and forest succession [6,11,38]. Partridge pea was most abundant in the initial community following harvest of all but a few scattered oaks (Quercus spp.) in a east Texas upland forest. It was found to be considerably less abundant in adjacent uncut wooded areas [38]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Partridge pea generally flowers from June through October [6,22,30,39]. In years of normal rainfall, the bright yellow flowers appear continuously through most of the growing season [16].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Chamaecrista fasciculata
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Partridge pea is favored by frequent fire. Both on-site, fire-scarified seeds and off-site seeds are an important source for colonizing burned areas [1,35,36,37]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community) Secondary colonizer - off-site seed

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Chamaecrista fasciculata
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire kills partridge pea [35,37]. High-severity fires may consume seeds stored in the seed bank. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Partridge pea generally increases in abundance after fire and will decrease in the absence of fire or other disturbance [1]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : Partridge pea greatly increased in frequency following two spring fires in consecutive years at a southern Illinois barren. However, it showed a rapid decline in frequency following fire cessation. Sampling took place during the summer after each burn. Following the spring fire in 1970 partridge pea quadrat frequency was 64; however, by postfire year 15, quadrat frequency had declined to 2 [1]. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Prescribed fire can greatly increase the quantity and availability of partridge pea seed to northern bobwhite and other wildlife species [25]. If managing areas for the maintenance of partridge pea, the season of burning is important. If burned as early as January, the fire-scarified seed may germinate prematurely, and the seedlings may be killed by March frosts [35,36,37]. Burns should be conducted after the danger of late frosts has passed and before growth has started [35]. Nitrogen is a main nutrient lost during fire. Partridge pea can be planted on burned sites to restore nitrogen to the soil [42].

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Chamaecrista fasciculata
REFERENCES : 1. Anderson, Roger C.; Schwegman, John E. 1991. Twenty years of vegetational change on a southern Illinois barren. Natural Areas Journal. 11(2): 100-107. [16256] 3. Barber, Brad L.; Messina, J. Suzanne; Van Buijtenen, Johannes P.; Wall, Margot M. 1991. Influence of nursery fertilization, site quality, and weed control on first-year performance of outplanted loblolly pine. In: Coleman, Sandra S.; Neary, Daniel G., compilers. Proceedings, 6th biennial southern silvicultural research conference: Vol. 1; 1990 October 30 - November 1; Memphis, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-70.. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 27-37. [17459] 4. Bare, Janet E. 1979. Wildflowers and weeds of Kansas. Lawrence, KS: The Regents Press of Kansas. 509 p. [3801] 5. Barkley, T. M. 1983. Field guide to the common weeds of Kansas. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 164 p. [3802] 6. Becker, Donald A.; Crockett, Jerry J. 1976. Nitrogen fixation in some prairie legumes. American Midland Naturalist. 96(1): 133-143. [4569] 7. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 8. Cull, Margaret Irene. 1978. Establishing prairie vegetation along highways in the Peoria area. In: Glenn-Lewin, David C.; Landers, Roger Q., Jr., eds. Proceedings, 5th Midwest prairie conference; 1976 August 22-24; Ames, IA. Ames, IA: Iowa State University: 172-177. [3378] 9. Cushwa, Charles T.; Hopkins, Melvin; McGinnes, Burd S. 1970. Response of legumes to prescribed burns in loblolly pine stands of the South Carolina Piedmont. Res. Note SE-140. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 6 p. [11587] 10. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1987. The Smithsonian guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 409 p. [12906] 11. Ehley, Alan M. 1990. Program encourages use of prairie species on roadsides. Restoration & Management Notes. 8(2): 101-102. [14156] 11. Ellis, Jack A.; Edwards, William R.; Thomas, Keith P. 1969. Responses of bobwhites to management in Illinois. Journal of Wildlife Management. 33(4): 749-762. [16070] 12. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 13. Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections supplied by R. C. Rollins]. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press. 1632 p. (Dudley, Theodore R., gen. ed.; Biosystematics, Floristic & Phylogeny Series; vol. 2). [14935] 14. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 15. Graham, Edward H. 1941. Legumes for erosion control and wildlife. Misc. Publ. 412. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 153 p. [10234] 16. Grelen, Harold E.; Hughes, Ralph H. 1984. Common herbaceous plants of Southern forest range. Res. Pap. SO-210. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest and Range Experiment Station. 147 p. [2946] 17. Jones, Steven M. 1991. Landscape ecosystem classification for South Carolina. In: Mengel, Dennis L.; Tew, D. Thompson, eds. Ecological land classification: applications to identify the productive potential of southern forests: Proceedings of a symposium; 1991 January 7-9; Charlotte, NC. Gen.Tech. Rep. SE-68. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 59-68. [15709] 18. Kartesz, John T.; Kartesz, Rosemarie. 1980. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume II: The biota of North America. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press; in confederation with Anne H. Lindsey and C. Richie Bell, North Carolina Botanical Garden. 500 p. [6954] 19. Kingsbury, John M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 626 p. [122] 20. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 21. Lewis, Clifford E.; Harshbarger, Thomas J. 1986. Burning and grazing effects on bobwhite foods in the Southeastern Coastal Plain. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 14: 455-459. [11952] 22. Lonard, Robert I.; Judd, Frank W. 1989. Phenology of native angiosperms of South Padre Island, Texas. In: Bragg, Thomas B.; Stubbendieck, James, eds. Prairie pioneers: ecology, history and culture: Proceedings, 11th North American prairie conference; 1988 August 7-11; Lincoln, NE. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska: 217-222. [14049] 23. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 24. Martin, Alexander C.; Zim, Herbert S.; Nelson, Arnold L. 1951. American wildlife and plants. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 500 p. [4021] 25. Martin, Robert E.; Miller, Robert L.; Cushwa, Charles T. 1975. Germination response of legume seeds subjected to moist and dry heat. Ecology. 56: 1441-1445. [4169] 26. Pessin, L. J. 1933. Forest associations in the uplands of the lower Gulf Coastal Plain (longleaf pine belt). Ecology. 14(1): 1-14. [12389] 27. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606] 28. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 29. Schramm, Harold L., Jr.; Smith, Loren M.; Bryant, Fred C.; [and others]. 1987. Managing for wildlife with the Conservation Reserve Program. Management Note 11. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University, Department of Range and Wildlife Management. 6 p. [9634] 30. Sharp Bros. Seed Co. 1989. Catalog of wildflowers and forbs. Amarillo, TX: Sharp Bros. Seed Co. 20 p. [18001] 31. Short, Henry L.; Epps, E. A., Jr. 1976. Nutrient quality and digestibility of seeds and fruits from southern forests. Journal of Wildlife Management. 40(2): 283-289. [10510] 32. Simpson, Ronald C. 1972. Relationship of postburn intervals to the incidence and success of bobwhite nesting in southwest Georgia. In: Proceedings, 1st national bobwhite quail symposium; [Date of conference unknown]; Stillwater, OK. [Place of publication unknown]. [Publisher unknown]. 150-158. [16208] 33. Skousen, J. G.; Call, C. A. 1987. Grass and forb species for revegetation of mixed soil-lignite overburden in east central Texas. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 42(6): 438-442. [10012] 34. Speake, Dan W. 1966. Effects of controlled burning on bobwhite quail populations and habitat of an experimental area in the Alabama piedmont. Proceedings, Annual Conference of Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Commissions. 20: 19-32. [14649] 35. Stoddard, Herbert L. 1961. The use of controlled fire in southeastern game management. In: The Cooperative Quail Study Association: May 1, 1931-May 1, 1943. Misc. Publ. No. 1. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 179-197. [15068] 36. Stoddard, Herbert L. 1961. Use of controlled fire in southeastern upland game management. In: The Cooperative Quail Study Association: May 1, 1931-May 1, 1943. Misc. Publ. No. 1. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 434-439. [Reprinted from: Journal of Forestry. 33(3), March, 1935]. [15078] 37. Stoddard, Herbert L. 1961. Relation of burning to timber and wildlife. In: The Cooperative Quail Study Association: May 1, 1931-May 1, 1943. Misc. Publ. No. 1. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 444-447. [15079] 38. Stransky, J. J.; Halls, L. K.; Nixon, E. S. 1976. Plants following timber harvest: importance to songbirds. Texas Forestry Pap. No. 28. Nacogdoches, TX: Stephen F. Austin State University, School of Forestry. 13 p. [15292] 39. Stubbendiek, James; Conard, Elverne C. 1989. Common legumes of the Great Plains: an illustrated guide. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 330 p. [11049] 40. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2015. PLANTS Database, [Online]. Available: https://plants.usda.gov / [34262] 41. Vogel, Willis G. 1981. A guide for revegetating coal minespoils in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-68. Broomall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 190 p. [15577] 42. Wells, C. G.; Campell, Ralph E.; DeBano, Leonard F.; [and others]. 1979. Effects of fire on soil: state-of-knowledge review. WO-7. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 34 p. [6734] 43. Kartesz, J. T.; The Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2015. Taxonomic Data Center, [Online]. Chapel Hill, NC: The Biota of North America Program (Producer). Available online: bonap.org. [maps generated from Kartesz, J. T. 2010. Floristic synthesis of North America, Version 1.0. Biota of North America Program (BONAP). (in press)]. [84789]

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