western white prairie clover

(Dalea candida var. oligophylla)

Conservation Status
western white prairie clover
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N4 - Apparently Secure

S3 - Vulnerable

  Minnesota Special Concern      

Western white prairie clover is a 1 to 3 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on one to several stems from a taproot that can extend up to 5 into the ground.

The stems light green, slender, widely spreading, straight, unbranched or sparsely branched toward the top, hairless, and ridged.

The leaves are alternate, ¾ to 2½ long, on short stalks. They are divided into 5 to 9 leaflets, usually 7, always an odd number. The leaflets are pale green, untoothed, and hairless. They are to 1 long, less than ¼ wide, and inversely lance-shaped with the attachment at the narrow end. The end leaflet is longer than the lateral leaflets. The tips are rounded with a short, sharp, abrupt point. There are minute glandular dots on the lower surface.

The inflorescence is dense, cylinder-shaped spikes of flowers at the end of each stem.

The spike is more than twice as long as it is wide, to 2 long, and about wide. The flowers at the base of the spike bloom first, forming a white ring. As the season progresses the ring moves up the spike or expands to encompass the entire spike.

The flowers are about ¼ long and about ¼ wide, numerous, white, and fragrant. There have 5 white, long-clawed petals. The petals do not form the typical banner, wings and keel of most plants in the Pea family. Instead, there is a banner petal and four petals fused with the 5 stamen bases into a floral tube.

The fruit is an oval pod about long with 1 seed.




1 to 3


Flower Color




Similar Species


Purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea var. purpurea) leaves are darker green, shorter, and narrower. They are seldom over ¾ long and are less than wide. The leaf margins are rolled inward toward the upper side. The flowers are purple.

White prairie clover (Dalea candida var. candida) stems are less widely spreading, more erect. The leaflets are longer, up to 1 long.


Dry. Prairies, meadows. Full sun.




July to July




Distribution Map



4, 5, 7, 28.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Fabales (legumes, milkworts, and allies)  


Fabaceae (legumes)  
  Subfamily Faboideae  
  Tribe Amorpheae  


Dalea (prairie clover)  
  Species Dalea candida (white prairie clover)  

Subordinate Taxa




Dalea occidentalis

Dalea oligophylla

Kuhnistera candida var. diffusa

Kuhnistera candida var. occidentalis

Kuhnistera occidentalis

Kuhnistera oligophylla

Petalostemon candidum var. occidentalis

Petalostemon candidum var. oligophyllus

Petalostemon candidus var. oligophyllus

Petalostemon gracile var. oligophyllum

Petalostemon occidentale

Petalostemon occidentalis

Petalostemon oligophyllum

Petalostemon oligophyllus

Petalostemon sonorae

Petalostemon truncatus


Common Names


fewleaf white prairie clover

western white prairie clover

western white prairie-clover

white dalea

white prairie clover

white prairieclover

white prairie-clover












A stalk-like narrowed base of some petals and sepals.

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  western white prairie clover    



  Dalea candida
Matt Lavin
  Dalea candida  

Native perennial herb, stems usually less than 50 cm and arising from a simple root crown, herbage glandular punctate, pods inconspicuous, concealed inside the small calyx tube and with 1-2 seeds, tolerates the stability of well managed rangeland and sagebrush steppe as well as the disturbance of roadsides, but readily grazed to local extinction (the same is true with the other species of this genus in Montana and vicinity).




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