Botanical Name: Dalea candida
Species: D. candida
Synonyms: Petalostemon candidum. (Willd.)Michx.
Common Names: White Prairie Clover
Common Alternate Names: Slender white prairie clover and prairie clover
Habitat: Dalea candida is native to Central N. America – southwards from Canada. It grows on dry desert and alluvial soils to 2000 metres. Prairies and open wods on sandy, clayey and rocky soils.
Dalea candida is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 0.7 m (2ft 4in). with a stout taproot. There are usually multiple stems from each root crown. The stems are erect to ascending, green to reddish-brown in color, and glabrous. The stems are 2-3 feet in height. Leaves are alternate, odd pinnately compound with 5-9 leaflets. The leaflets are elliptic to oblanceolate in outline, entire, and glabrous. The leaflets are flat or slightly folded. It is in flower from July to August. Flowers are produced in dense terminal spikes. The spikes are conical to cylindrical in shape on long peduncles. The flowers have 5 white petals and the color is white. The fruit is a l-seeded indehiscent legume that is partly or completely enclosed in the persistent calyx. White Prairie Clover is similar to White Tassels (Dalea albida (Torr. & A. Gray) D.B. Ward). It differs in having a calyx tube that is not incised on ventral side, and with the blade of the standard petal broad and cordate. In White Tassels the calyx tube is deeply incised on ventral surface, and the blade of standard petal is obovate to scoop shaped.
The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
It can fix Nitrogen
Requires a well-drained soil in full sun. A deep-rooted plant, it prefers a sandy loam with added leaf mould. This species is well-suited to informal and naturalistic plantings, especially as part of a collection of native species. We are not sure how hardy this plant is in Britain, but judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of the country. Plants are monocarpic, living for a number of years without flowering and then dying after flowering. The stems, leaves and flowers are dotted with glands, making the plant look blistered. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearb.
Root is eaten -raw or chewed for its pleasant sweet flavour. Eaten as a delicacy by children. A tea-like beverage is made from the dried leaves.
Medicinal Uses: The roots have been chewed to bring relief from the pain of toothaches etc.
This leguminous forb produces palatable and nutritious forage for all classes of livestock and is an important browse species for antelope, deer and upland game birds,
particularly sharp-tail grouse. This species will decrease and disappear under persistent overgrazing. It is an important legume in native grasslands because of its nitrogen fixing characteristic. This native legume can be used as the forb component in reclamation of drastically disturbed lands, range renovation and prairie restoration projects. It is also a potentially useful plant for roadside and rest area beautification, park plantings and recreational garden natural area plantings.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.