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Terrell, Alan C.
Dalea formosa Torr.
Feather dalea, Featherplume
USDA Symbol: DAFO
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Featherplume is a 2-3 ft., thornless, colony-forming shrub which can reach 6 ft. in height. A low scraggly shrub bearing tiny, pinnately compound leaves and pea flowers with yellow and bright purple to pink-purple petals in short, head-like racemes. It forms large, low-spreading, finely-textured mounds with silvery, delicately compound leaves. Short, spike-like clusters of fuzzy, purple flowers cover the blooming plant. Close inspection reveal a bright yellow banner petal contrasting with the rose-purple corolla. Blossoms are followed by flat, shaggy-haired seed pods.
One of many shrubby species of Dalea, this plant--with its dark bark, contorted branches, and small leaves--is an excellent candidate for bonsai.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
Flowers in 2 inch clusters
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
AZ , CO , NM , OK , TX Native Distribution:
OK & CO, s. to n. Mex. Native Habitat:
Dry, scrubby areas USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Poor, dry, rocky soils. Limestone-based, Caliche type, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam
Conditions Comments: Will get leggy in good soil or if fertilized. Should be cut back in the spring. Good ground cover.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Easily grown
Use Wildlife: Rabbits and deer will browse on this plant. Browse, Nectar-insects
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Seed Collection: Collect the pods from summer to early fall when they are no longer green and are beginning to dry. Separate seeds from pods before sowing or storage. Fumigate seeds before storage.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require no pretreatment for germination.
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Record Modified: 2010-08-17
Research By: TWC Staff