Agricultural Research Division of IANR


Date of this Version



HORTSCIENCE 27(8):927. 1992


Copyright 1992 American Society for Horticultural Science. Used by permission.


Dalea pulpurea Vent., formerly designated as Petalostemon purpureus (Vent.) Rydb., is a native herbaceous plant found growing in the United States from North Dakota to Texas and from the Mississippi River to the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains (Great Plains Flora Assn., 1986). Dalea purpurea would likely be more accepted as an ornamental plant if additional selections with improved flowering and foliage traits were available.

Two populations of D. purpurea were evaluated for variation in height, stem color, foliage color, flowering time, stem count, and lodging. Population 1 (467 plants) was the cultivar Kaneb (Stock Seed Farm, Murdock, Neb.) and population 2 (278 plants) came from the Nebraska Federated Garden Clubs wildflower distribution program (source unknown).

Seeds from the two sources of D. pulpurea were cold-stratified at 2 2 2C for 6 weeks, moved to a greenhouse, germinated, and transplanted to field plots in 1987. Field soil was a Typic haplustoll (Cozad silt loam). Plants were irrigated at transplanting time in the field and then only as needed during the growing season. In 1988, the second year after planting, notes on growth characteristics were recorded 9 and 10 July for height (cm), stem color (1 = green to 5 = red), foliage color (rated as 1 = light green to 5 = dark green), flowering time (1 = early to5 = late), stems per plant and lodging (1 = no lodging to 5 = complete lodging). These traits were selected because they affect the attractiveness of the plant for landscape use. No evaluations were made for flower quality. However, there were some slight variations in flower size between plants.

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