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Dalea purpurea var. purpurea (Purple prairie clover)
Northington, David K.

Dalea purpurea var. purpurea

Dalea purpurea Vent. var. purpurea

Purple Prairie Clover, Violet Prairie Clover

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Petalostemon mollis, Petalostemon purpureus, Petalostemon purpureus var. mollis


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Purple prairie-clover is a popular prairie perennial with delicate, foliage and showy flowers. Numerous slender stems rise 1-3 feet. and bear small leaves divided into linear segments. Tiny, individual flowers cluster around a cylinder-like cone. The bright, magenta-purple flowers start as a ring around the base of the cone and work upward as the season advances.


From the Image Gallery

17 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CO , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , ND , NE , NM , NY , OH , OK , SD , TN , TX , WI , WY
Canada: MB , SK
Native Distribution: E. IN to s. Alt., s. to MS, n. TX & NM
Native Habitat: Prairies; open woods, Infrequent in West Texas in open grasslands.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained soils. Well-drained calcareous soils.
Conditions Comments: The cheerful purple flowers mix well when planted with grasses in a short grass meadow garden or a mixed perennial garden with other plants with similar growing requirements. Purple prairie clover is a good source of nectar for insects and will also last nicely as a cut flower. Like other members of the pea family, this plant adds nutrients back to the soil when planted in masses.


Use Wildlife: Birds, Butterflies
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special 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.


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Easily propagated from unstratified seed in fall or stratified seed in spring.
Seed Collection: Collect in Aug. and Sep.
Seed Treatment: Scarification, inoculation, moist stratification for 10 days
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX


Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

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Research Literature

Reslit 2888 - The genus Dalea (Fabaceae) in Alabama (2013) Woods, M. and W.S. Hughes

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

USDA: Find Dalea purpurea var. purpurea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Dalea purpurea var. purpurea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Dalea purpurea var. purpurea


Record Modified: 2010-05-10
Research By: TWC Staff, GDB

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