You are here

Purple Prairie Clover

Purple Prairie Clover
Dalea purpurea
(Family: Fabaceae)

(see Photo 1)
Dalea Purpurea In the Field. Photo by Hallie Craycraft, 2011

Diagnosis:
Stems: Erect, ascending, many leaflets along entire length of stem.
Leaf: Altermate, odd pinnately compound, leaflets 3-7, linear to linear-elliptic, 0.8-2.5 cm (1/3-1’’) long, acute tips, slightly pubescent, margins entire.
Root: Tough system produces above ground shoots at intervals.
Inflorescence: Dense, cylindrical, cone-like, 0.5-2.5’’ long, terminal stalks, flowers bloom from bottom to top of inflorescence.

(see Photo 2)
Dalea purpurea Inflorescence. Photo by Hallie Craycraft.

Floret: Small, 5 purple or pinkish petals, 5 stamens with orange anthers, 1 pistil.

(see  Photo 3)
Dalea purpurea Floret. Photo by Hallie Craycraft.


Flowering Period: June-July


Habitat: Dry black soil, gravel, and sand prairies. Prefers a sunny habitat.


Conservation Status: Not threatened


Native Status: Native to eastern and central United States.

Distribution: Distributed throughout most of Kansas.

Kansas County Distributional Map for Dalea purpurea
Kansas Distribution Map. Map from Plants Database. http://plants.usda.gov/
 

Distributed throughout central United States and south central Canada.


United States Distribution Map. Map from Plants Database. http://plants.usda.gov/


Human Uses: The taproot can be used to make a tea that will help cure fever in people with measles.

 

Historical Information: Lewis and Clark collected specimens from Montana to bring back to President Jefferson in 1804 and 1806. These specimens of Dalea purpurea are now on display in the Lewis & Clark Herbarium in Philadelphia.
 

Visitors: Long and short tongued-bees, wasps, flies, and small butterflies, skippers, and beetles.
 


References:
Friends of the Flower Garden. 2008. Dalea Prupurea. http://www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org

Great Plains Flora Association 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas. Lawrence, Kansas. Pg. 1046.

 

Image Credits:

Dalea purpurea in the field, inflorescence, and floret. Photos by Hallie Craycraft.

Kansas Distribution map and United States Distribution map. http://plants.usda.gov/

 

Submitted by: Hallie Craycraft, July 2011

Wichita State University
Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
Comments can be sent to Mary Liz Jameson.
Designed by Bioadventures.