white prairie clover

(Dalea candida var. candida)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

white prairie clover


N4N5 - Apparently Secure to Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed






Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, meadows. Full sun.






This 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, erect or 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.


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.

Western white prairie clover (Dalea candida var. oligophylla) stems are usually widely spreading, not erect. The leaflets are shorter, seldom over ¾ long.

Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.




Fabaceae (pea)



Faboideae (Papilionoideae)





white prairie clover (Dalea candida)


Petalostemon candidum

Petalostemon candidus


white dalea

white prairie clover

white prairieclover

white prairie-clover












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

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  white prairie clover   white prairie clover


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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings

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