Partridge Pea, Showy
|Botanical Name||Cassia fasciculata|
|Environment||- Full Sun - Partial Sun|
|Preferred Sites||- Upland/Grassland - Disturbed|
As its name implies, Partridge Pea is ideal for quail, grouse, and other upland game birds. This widely planted annual reseeding legume produces a tremendous amount of seeds that last throughout the year. Seeds germinate over a long period of time to ensure the longevity of the stand. Stands of Partridge Pea produce protective cover against predators for birds, rabbits and small animals, as well as provide winter cover and summer shade. Seeds are fed upon primarily during the fall.
WHERE AND HOW IT GROWS: Partridge Pea can be found throughout much of the continental U.S. It grows in just about any type of soil, even in those with relatively low fertility. It also does particularly well in sandy loam and clay soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.
Once established, mature Partridge Pea will grow to a height of 1 to 5 feet. Plants mature quickly and produce small, attractive yellow flowers. Partridge Pea produces seeds for wildlife use within 100 to 110 days of germination. Seed pods, when mature, split open and release the small dark seeds to the ground.
PROPAGATION: Partridge Pea can be planted in the spring when danger of frost has passed and well into the summer months. Seeds can be drilled or broadcast and even planted as a row crop. Planting recommendations vary lightly with the seed source. If row-cropped, plant at a rate of 5 lbs. per acre in 30 inch rows. If drilled or broadcast, prepare the seedbed and plant at a rate of 15 lbs. per acre, or approximately ½ lb. per 1,000 square feet. Cover the seed lightly by dragging the planted area with a tractor tire or culti-packer. Seeds should not be planted or covered more than 1 inch deep. Disking lightly or burning during early spring, specifically during the month of March, will scarify Partridge Pea seeds and stimulate germination, thus perpetuating the stand.
RESULTS: A light application of fertilizer, as determined by a soil test, can help in establishing a stand of Partridge Pea. In most instances secondary applications are unnecessary. Established stands can last for years without being replanted.