Dalea candida (White Prairie Clover)
|Also known as:|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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:
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. Purple Prairie Clover also starts blooming earlier than White 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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Photos by K. ChaykaLong Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
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