Dalea formosa Torr.
Feather dalea, Featherplume
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Synonym(s): Parosela formosa
USDA Symbol: dafo
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Flower: Flowers in 2 inch clusters
Size Class: 3-6 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AZ , CO , NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: OK & CO, s. to n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry, scrubby areas
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 Clay
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
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
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.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
BibliographyBibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
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Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.View Recommended Species page
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Dalea formosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Dalea formosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Dalea formosa
MetadataRecord Modified: 2010-08-17
Research By: TWC Staff