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Chamaecrista nictitans

Chamaecrista nictitans (L.) Moench

 

Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderFabalesLegumes (pea and bean families)
FamilyFabaceaeLegume family (peas and beans)
GenusChamaecristaFrom Greek chamae, “low growth,” and crista, “crested.”
SpeciesnictitansBanded or bundled nerve fibers, in reference to the sensitivity of the leaflets

About plant names...

Sensitive plants are so named because they have a very unusual property: they fold up when touched. Well usually. Sometimes they don’t, and sometimes they respond slowly. It is native throughout most of the Americas. It prefers rocky open woods, upland slopes, ridges, prairies, grass­lands, and open thickets.

Plants: 12-36" (30-91 cm) tall, often low to the ground, sometimes forming large mats.

Leaves: Even pinnate. Each leaf has 8-18 pairs of narrow leaflets about ⅝" (1.7 cm) long. Leaves fold when touched, or at night.

Flowers: Yellow, 5-petaled, 1" (2.5 cm) around, either separate or in clusters of 2-3. Petals are unequal in size and shape. There are 5-10 stamens. Flowers appear August through October.

Fruits: Shaped like pea pods, highly variable, ¾-1½" (2-4 cm) long. When they dry, they turn brown and explode, scattering seeds.

Online References:

Chamaecrista nictitans on coastalplainplants.org

Chamaecrista nictitans on Southeastern Flora, the Southeastern U.S. Plant Identification Resource

Chamaecrista nictitans on gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org

Chamaecrista nictitans on plants.ces.ncsu.edu

Chamaecrista nictitans at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Chamaecrista nictitans (Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea)

7/23/2017 · Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA
≈ 5 × 7" (13 × 18 cm)

Chamaecrista nictitans (Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea)

7/23/2017 · Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA
≈ 4½ × 7" (12 × 18 cm)

Chamaecrista nictitans (Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea)

7/23/2017 · Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Chamaecrista nictitans (Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea)

9/23/2017 · Summit of Mt. Agamenticus, York, ME
≈ 3 × 2½" (8 × 7 cm)

Chamaecrista nictitans description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 6 Aug 2019.

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Chamaecrista nictitans (Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea)

9/23/2017 · Summit of Mt. Agamenticus, York, ME
≈ 2½ × 4" (7 × 10 cm)

Chamaecrista nictitans (Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea)

9/23/2017 · Summit of Mt. Agamenticus, York, ME
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Chamaecrista nictitans (Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea)

7/23/2017 · Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 20 cm)

Chamaecrista nictitans (Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea)

7/23/2017 · Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA
≈ 4½ × 7" (12 × 18 cm)

Chamaecrista nictitans (Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea)

7/23/2017 · Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA
≈ 4½ × 7" (12 × 18 cm)

Chamaecrista nictitans (Wild Sensitive Plant, Wild Sensitive-pea, Sensitive Partridge Pea)

9/23/2017 · Summit of Mt. Agamenticus, York, ME
≈ 3 × 2½" (7.4 × 7 cm)

Range: Zones 3-9:

About this map...