Purple Prairie-clover

Photo by Kristen Hase

Common Name: Purple Prairie-clover

Scientific Name: Dalea purpurea

Family: Bean

Longevity: Perennial

Height: 1 - 2 feet

Bloom Period: June and July

 

Description: Many slender, upright stems grow from a single base. Leaves are ½-1½ inches long with five gland-dotted, narrow leaflets. Tiny, reddish-purple flowers open on a dense, cylindrical head.

Comments: This native legume is high in protein content and is eaten by domestic and wild grazers. Prairie-clover will decrease on heavily-grazed native pastures. The flowers attract many insects including wasps, flies, beetles, skippers, green metallic bees, leaf-cutting bees and bumble bees. Purple Prairie-clover is host to a type of bee that requires the pollen of this species only, in order to develop properly. Like other legumes, prairie-clovers add nitrogen to the soil. Purple Prairie-clover is found throughout Kansas on rocky, open prairies. White Prairie-clover is a similar species with white flowers and somewhat larger leaves.