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Dalea greggii A. Gray
Gregg Dalea, Gregg's Prairie Clover, Trailing Indigo Bush, Indigo Bush
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
USDA Symbol: DAGR2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Greggs prairie-clover or indigo bush is a 4-9 in., trailing sub-shrub, spreading 2-4 ft. Grown mostly for its silvery, blue-green, delicately compound leaves, the shrub is awash with clusters of tiny, pea-shaped purple flowers in spring and early summer.
This plant is a good ground cover for rocky slopes and exposed sites in the Southwest. Grown chiefly for its foliage, but also gets covered with purple blooms in summer. It will tolerate dry conditions well.
The species name “greggii” was named for Josiah Gregg, (1806-1850). He was born in Overton County, Tennessee. In the summer of 1841 and again in the winter of 1841-42 he traveled through Texas, up the Red River valley, and later from Galveston to Austin and by way of Nacogdoches to Arkansas. He took note of Texas geology, trees, prevalent attitudes, and politics. At the same time, Gregg began compiling his travel notes into a readable manuscript. His “Commerce of the Prairies”, which came out in two volumes in 1844, was an immediate success. In 1848 he joined a botanical expedition to western Mexico and California, during which he corresponded with and sent specimens to the eminent botanist George Engelman in St. Louis. Subsequently, the American Botanical Society added the Latin name “greggii” in his honor to twenty-three species of plants. Gregg died on February 25, 1850, as a result of a fall from his horse.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Pubescence: Tomentose
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Normally 4-9 inches tall, but can reach 1-2 feet high.
Leaf: Silvery blue-green
Flower: Flowers 1/2 inch
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: NM , TX
Native Distribution: S.e. Trans-Pecos in TX, southeast in Mexico to Tamaulipas and south as far as Oaxaca.
Native Habitat: In the northern part of its range, rocky, limestone hills in the Chihuahuan Desert; 2000 to 5000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, dry granitic, sand, clay, loam, limestone, or gravelly soils with little organic content.
Conditions Comments: As a plant native to the Chihuahuan Desert region, where rains come in the summer, it will need some irrigation during dry summers, no more than twice a month. It must have good drainage in regions with wet winters, or else it will rot. Rainy autumns, too, may encourage new growth, which can then be damaged by winter freezes. May not survive temperatures below the teens and can take years to recover from such low temperatures.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Great as a groundcover or pot plant for the Southwest, valued mainly for its foliage.
Use Wildlife: Flowers attract bees and butterflies. A larval plant for several butterfly species.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate
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 , Semi-hardwood Cuttings
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.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Prune back to the main stem annually in early winter or early spring, before new growth begins. During prolonged summer droughts outside its native range, water twice a month.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Naval Air Station Kingsville - Kingsville, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
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
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Dalea greggii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Dalea greggii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Dalea greggii
MetadataRecord Modified: 2019-06-19
Research By: GDB