Step one when a new plant just appears out of the bright, blue sky (most seeds are airborne), is identification. This usually means allowing it to grow on and flower. Flowers help a great deal with figuring out what is who. My go to for wildflower plant ID is my friend Gail of Clay and Limestone who hosts Wildflower Wednesday on the fourth such day of each month.
Step two is research from the all-knowing internet. Several sources are checked, if available to verify the veracity of each. Photos are compared with those online as well as the growth habit descriptions.
This is Sesbania exaltata, syn. Sesbania macrocarpa and Sesbania herbacea. Research revealed that S. exaltata occurs along ditches, roadsides, fields, disturbed sites, river banks and lake shores throughout Florida westward to southern California and northward to New York. It is also found in Central America.
It is an erect annual, reaching 3-6 feet in height, with distinctive seed pods and showy yellow flowers. Primarily a weed of agronomic crops found in the coastal plain but occasionally in the piedmonts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia and let us add to that list, Tennessee.
Hemp sesbania, one of the common names along with coffeeweed, Colorado River hemp and bigpod sesbania, may also be confused with Partridgepea Cassia fasciculata, however partridgepea only has 16 to 30 leaflets per leaf and also has a distinctive spherical gland near the base of each leaf petiole. I was really hoping it was the partridgepea, but alas, it is not, so …
Sing along with The Clash, head banging and playing your best air guitar: