White Prairie Clover - (Dalea candida)
Height 1 to 3 ft
Dalea candida is a species of flowering plant in the legume family known by the common name White Prairie Clover, and is also known by another scientific name as Petalostemum candidum. It is native to North America, where it can be found throughout central Canada, the central United States, and northern Mexico. It can sometimes be found outside its range as an introduced species.
Most legume species harbour beneficial bacteria called rhizobia on their roots; genus-specific strains of this bacterium (called inoculum) may aid in the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen, and can improve the long-term health of native plant communities. The plants are able to capture nitrogen from the air, and the bacteria assist in 'fixing' it in the plant. The plants act as a natural soil fertilizer when the spent plant material is left to enrich the soil. Inoculum is naturally occurring in most soils, and additional amendment is not usually needed however, in low fertility soils, it may be necessary.
White Prairie Clover flowers are tightly packed on a cylindrical spike 1 to 3 inches long at the top of the stem. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch across, having 5 white petals and 5 protruding white stamens, and blooms from the bottom of the spike up - in mid summer. The calyx, holding the flower, is green to rusty brown, and is most easily visible in the upper spike where flowers have not yet bloomed. The leaves are compound in groups of 5 to 9, and are alternately attached. Leaflets are up to 1½ in long, and usually less than ¼ in wide, generally elliptical, hairless and toothless, and have glandular dots on the underside. Stems are hairless and erect, mostly unbranched but may be sparsely branched in the upper plant.
The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract bumblebees, Halictid bees (including green metallic bees), plasterer bees (Colletes spp.), Sphecid wasps, Tiphiid wasps, Syrphid flies, thick-headed flies (Conopidae), and small butterflies. Great addition to any prairie garden, xeriscaping project and looks great paired with purple prairie clover, wild bergamot, poppies, batchelor buttons and butterfly weed. Great for rockeries too!
- Full Sun
- Loamy soil; well draining
- Direct sow the seed in early spring, planting it 1/4 in deep in firmly compacted soil. Keep the soil consistently moist until germination. Thin or transplant seedlings to 15 to 18in apart.
- Germination: typically within 10 to 12 days.
- Spacing:12 to 18in
- Bloom time: June, July, August, September
- Seed Count: 8