Clover, Purple Prairie - Dalea purpurea

(Violet Prairie Clover, Purple Prairieclover, Violet Dalea)

Family: Pea (Fabaceae) - Native

In rear of Visitor Center (N35D33'02.688 X W105D41'10.301)

Flowers first observed: 7/12/17

The Plant w/Flowers

The Flowers


"Perennial herb, 20-80 cm tall, from a woody root crown; stems several in a clump, erect to spreading-decumbent; herbage glandular, hairy or glabrous. Leaves: Alternate and pinnately compund, 3-5 cm long, usually with 5 leaflets per leaf; leaflets 7-24 mm long and 1-3 mm wide, linear, folded in half or with curled up edges; surfaces gland-dotted and hairy or glabrous. Flowers: Purple, in cylindric spikes 1-7 cm long, at branch tips; flowers about 8 mm long, with pea-flower morphology (papilionaceous), with a wide upper petal called the banner, two smaller lateral petals called the wings, and a boat-shaped lower petal called the keel which contains the style and stamens. Petals purple to lavender or rarely white; sepals 5, silky-villous, united at the base into a tube 2-4 mm long, this topped with 5 narrow pointed teeth which are shorter than the tube. Fruits: Pod pubescent, small, and contained within the persistent hairy calyx; containing 1 or 2 seeds." (SEINet)


"Found in grasslands, from 4,000-7,500 ft (1219-2286 m); flowers June-September. IN to AL, west to MT, WY, CO, NM, and se AZ." (SEINet)

Ethnobotanical Uses


None specifically noted. However, Dalea sp. mentioned:

"Paiute Unspecified Species used for food." (Moerman 193)

Internet Links

Missouri Botanical Garden