PURPLE PRAIRIE-CLOVER
File Size: 106 KB
 
Dalea purpurea  Vent.
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 8-36 inches
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August
Stems: Erect or ascending, slender, simple or branching above, ribbed, glabrous or sometimes slightly pubescent.
Leaves: Alternate, odd-pinnately compound, .5 to 1.5 inch long, 1/2 to 1 inch wide, short-stalked; leaflets 3-7 (usually 5), linear, 1/3 to 1 inch long, less than 1/10 inch wide; margins usually rolling inward; tips pointed.
Inflorescences: Spikes, dense, cylindrical or cone-like, .5 to 2.5 inches tall, terminating stalks to 6 inches long.
Flowers: Small; calyces bell-shaped, densely hairy; corollas papilionaceous, purple, rose or pinkish; stamens 5, united.
Fruits: Pods, tiny, egg-shaped, smooth; seeds 1, smooth, brown.
Habitat: Dry rocky prairies and hillsides, open wooded sites, and roadsides.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Forage Value: New growth of this native legume is high in protein and is nutritious for livestock. Purple prairie-clover is readily consumed by livestock and will decrease with overgrazing.
Uses: It has been reported that the leaves have a constipating effect when boiled and used as a tea. Native Americans chewed the roots for their sweet taste and made brooms of the tough stems.

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