Annual; stems erect, 1-5 dm, glabrous to villous; petiolar gland saucer-shaped, short-stalked; lfls 7-20 pairs, oblong, 6-15 mm, aristate, usually glabrous; fls solitary or 2-3 together, on pedicels 2-4 mm; pet very unequal, one 6-8 mm and nearly or fully twice as long as the others; stamens 5, unequal, filaments very short; anthers 1.5-3 mm; pods oblong, straight, flat, 2-4 cm נ3-6 mm; 2n=16. Dry, especially sandy soil, upland woods, dunes, and disturbed habitats; Mass. and s. Vt. to N.Y., O., Mo., and Kans., s. to tropical Amer. July-Sept. (C. procumbens; Cassia n.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
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Wiggins 1964, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Slender stemmed annual to 50 cm tall, stems covered in dense hairs. Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound leaves, each leaf divided into 10-25 narrow oblong leaflets with small spines on the tips; stalked gland on petiole, just below last pair of leaflets; leaves fold when disturbed. Flowers: Short axillary pedicels bearing irregular yellow flowers up to 1.4 cm wide, 5 petals, lower petal larger and more spreading. Fruits: Legume Ecology: Found in open woods, prairies, thickets, and on wet shores; 3,500-5,000 ft (1067-1524 m). Distribution: Most of eastern US, from MI to ME, south to FL, west to AZ; south to s MEX, and in S. Amer.; Australia and Asia. Notes: With this species try touching the leaves which will gently reflex and close. Also distinct by being an erect annual with pinnately compound leaves with many leaflets; yellow flowers; the shape of the pods, being flat and having straight, almost parallel sides and an end which is mostly straight and slants back (see pics). Ethnobotany: Used medicinally for endurance and given against fainting spells. Etymology: Chamaecrista come from Greek chamae, dwarf and crista for cross. Synonyms: Chamaecrista nictitans var. nictitans, Cassia nictitans Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015