Dalea candida (White Prairie Clover)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Fabaceae (Pea)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; dry to moderate prairies, rocky or sandy soil
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:1 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Flowers are tightly packed on a cylindrical spike 1 to 3 inches long at the top of the stem. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch across, 5 white petals and 5 protruding white stamens, blooming from the bottom of the spike up. The calyx holding the flower is green to rusty brown, most easily visible in the upper spike where flowers have not yet bloomed.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Leaves are compound in groups of 5 to 9, alternately attached. Leaflets are up to 1½ inches long and usually less than ¼ inch wide, generally elliptical, hairless and toothless, and have glandular dots on the underside. Stems are hairless and erect, mostly unbranched but may be sparsely branched in the upper plant.


White Prairie Clover is similar to Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea). Besides the flower color, the most obvious difference is the leaf size—the leaves on White Prairie Clover are rather larger with broader leaflets and not as densely packed on the stem. White Prairie Clover also starts blooming earlier than Purple Prairie Clover. There are 2 varieties of White Prairie Clover in Minnesota: var. candida is common and var. oligophylla (Western White Prairie Clover) is a MN Special Concern species and, according to the DNR, is mostly distinguished by its less erect growth habit and smaller leaves.

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More photos

Photos by K. ChaykaLong Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Josh - St. Paul
on: 2013-08-12 11:05:11

seen at Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom

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