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White Prairie Clover

White Prairie Clover
Dalea candida Michx. Ex Willd.
(Order Fabales; Family Fabaceae)

Flower of Dalea candida. Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses:

Stems: The stems are slender and straight and can grow from 1 to 3 feet tall. They are simple or sparingly branched above and are glabrous (smooth). They are ribbed and sometimes is glandular-dotted. They are erect and wide-spreading.
Leaves: The leaves are alternate and short-stalked to nearly sessile. They are odd-pinnately compound and are 0.75 to 2.5 inches long and 0.5 to 1 inch long. The leaflets are elliptic to oblanceolate and there are 5-13 leaflets. They are glabrous and the tips are usually sharp-pointed.
Inflorescence: The inflorescence is a cylindrical spike and is 1 to 3 inches long and about ½ inch thick. They are densely flowered and are terminal.
Flowers: The flowers are white in color and are less than ¼ of an inch long. The banner petals are erect and are larger than the wing and keel petals. There are 5 stamens and the filaments are united. The calyces have 5-teeth and are 10-ribbed. They are glabrous to pubescent.
Fruits: Like the Fabaceae family they produce a small pod that is oval and is 1-seeded. The pod is glandular and protruding from persistent calyces.

Flowering Period: This plant flowers in June, July, and August.

Distribution: Dalea candida in the United States. From the USDA Plants Database


Distribution Kansas: All over Kansas. From the USDA Plants Database


Native Status: White Prairie Clover is native to both the United States and Kansas.

Habitat: These plants usually grow in prairies, rocky hillsides, roadsides, waste places, and open, rocky woods.

Uses: The Native Americans would steep dry the leaves in water to make tea. They would use this to create a medicine to treat wounds. They would chew the roots because they were sweet-tasting.

Conservation status: Secure

Etymology: Dale is named in honor of Samuel Dale, an English botanist (1659- 1739), and candida refers to the flower color meaning “of dazzling white”.


Kansas Wildflowers & Grasses:

Kindscher, K. 1992. Medicinal wild plants of the prairie. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

Weberling, Focko, & Pankhurst, R.J. (1992). Morphology of flowers and inflorescence. Great Britain: University Press, Cambridge.

Image Credits:
Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses:
United States and Kansas Distribution Map from the USDA Plants Database

Submitted by: Kiersten Dixon, July 2011.




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