Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Pencil Flower
Stylosanthes biflora

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Stylosanthes (sty-lo-SAN-theez) (Info)
Species: biflora (by-FLOR-uh) (Info)

One member has or wants this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

Click thumbnail
to view:

By creekwalker
Thumbnail #1 of Stylosanthes biflora by creekwalker


4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive lallen08 On Jun 16, 2012, lallen08 from Tampa, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I planted a bed of pencil flower last fall. Doing great in part shade, nice form, pretty little flowers in the morning, looks great in mass planting. I'm going to plant a bed down on our hot, dry right of way and see how they do.

Positive jameso On Jun 22, 2011, jameso from Longview, TX wrote:

The blooms are small but very attractive

Positive creekwalker On Nov 2, 2007, creekwalker from Benton County, MO (Zone 5a) wrote:

The Pencil Flower is actually in the bean family, Fabaceae, according to my Ozark Wildflowers book.

Editor's Note

Since 2004 the three subfamilies of Caesalpiniaceae, Mimosaceae, and Papilionaceae rather than Fabaceae
Neutral frostweed On Nov 18, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Pencil Flower, Stylosanthes biflora, is native to Texas and other States.

Positive Equilibrium On Jan 28, 2006, Equilibrium wrote:

Wild Turkeys like the seed of this plant. This is also a host plant to Barred Yellow (Eurema daira) caterpillars. Extremely attractive plant.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Cole Camp, Missouri
Longview, Texas

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