Agricultural Research Division of IANR


Date of this Version



HortScience 38(2): 311-312. 2003.


Copyright 2003 American Society for Horticultural Science. Used by permission.


Dalea L. (prairie-clover) is a large genus of the western hemisphere consisting of herbaceous and shrubby plants (Great Plains Flora Association, 1986). Barneby (1977) lists over 160 species that range from the Canadian prairies into South America. The forage value of daleas for livestock is well known. Ornamentally, daleas are showy plants, desirable for their foliage as well as for their delicate flowers. Their value as a legume can also contribute to sustainable landscapes.

Dalea purpurea Vent., formerly designated as Petalostemon purpureus (Vent.) Rydb., and sometimes listed as Dalea purpureum is found growing from the Canadian prairie provinces to Texas and from the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains throughout most of the prairie region of the U.S. Midwest. It is a perennial herb with a thick woody taproot. Dalea purpurea is often associated with with mid- and tall-growing plants, including big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium Michx. Nash), prairie sandreed (Calamovilfa longifolia Hook. Scrihn), side-oats grama (Boutelous curtipendula Michx. Torr), rough gayfeather (Liatris aspera Michx. Torr)

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