Dalea leporina (Foxtail Prairie Clover)
|Also known as:||Foxtail Dalea|
|Habitat:||sun; disturbed soils; roadsides, waste areas, fields, open woods, sandy banks|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 2 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: UPL MW: FACU NCNE: UPL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Erect, cylindric spike 1 to 2 inches long, single at the tips of branching stems, densely packed with tiny pea-shaped flowers. Flowers are 1/6 to ¼ inch long, white to pale pinkish or purple, the upper petal largest and erect to ascending, the lower and lateral petals about half as long as the upper. A column of 9 or 10 stamens with yellow to red tips protrudes from the center. The calyx holding the flower has 5 awl-shaped lobes, 10 ribs, and is covered in long white hairs. Flowers bloom from the bottom of the spike up, sometimes with just a small ring of flowers open at a time.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, up to 4 inches long, compound with 15 to 41 leaflets. Leaflets are ¼ to ½ inch long, oblong-elliptic or widest above the middle, toothless, hairless, mostly stalkless, sometimes red-tinged. The lower surface is much paler than the upper and gland dotted, the dots often showing through to the upper surface.
While not considered a rare species in Minnesota, Foxtail Prairie Clover is certainly uncommon. There have been only 3 records of it since 1900, the most recent in 1961 in Lac Qui Parle County. It is considered an adventive species and a bit weedy in the eastern US. It is easily distinguished from other Prairie Clovers by the larger flowers, densely hairy calyx, and gland-dotted compound leaves with numerous leaflets.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Foxtail Prairie Clover plants
- Foxtail Prairie Clover plant
- Foxtail Prairie-clover plants
- Foxtail Prairie Clover habitat?
- leaf underside is pale and gland-dotted
- flowers close up
Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at the public boat launch in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?