Herbs & Plants

Dalea purpurea

Botanical Name: Dalea purpurea
Family: Fabaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Genus: Dalea
Species: D. purpurea

*Dalea violacea (Michx.) Willd.
*Kuhnistera violacea (Vent.) Steud.
*Petalostemon violaceum Michx.
*P. pubescens (A.Gray) A.Nelson
*P. purpureum (Vent.) Rydb.
*P. standleyanus Rydb.
*Psoralea purpurea (Vent.) MacMill.

Common Names: Purple Prairie Clover

Habitat: Dalea purpurea is native to Western N. America. It grows in dry desert and alluvial soils to 2000 metres. Sandy prairies in Texas.

Dalea purpurea is a perennial herb growing 20 to 90 cm (8 to 35 in) tall. The mature plant has a large taproot 5.5 to 6.5 feet (1.7 to 2.0 m) deep. The stem is woody with several branches. The leaves are a few centimeters long and are divided into 3 to 7 narrow leaflets. The inflorescence atop each stem branch is a spike up to 7 cm (2 3?4 in) long containing many purple flowers. The fruit is a legume pod containing 1 or 2 seeds.


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. 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 nearby.

Edible Uses: The root was used for chewing. A pleasant sweet flavour. The dried leaves are a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
Dalea purpurea has been found to contain several active constituents, including pawhuskin A, pawhuskin B, pawhuskin C, and petalostemumol. The pawhuskins possess affinity for the opioid receptors, and pawhuskin A, by far the most potent of the group, acts as a non-selective antagonist of all three opioid receptors, with preference for the ?- and ?-opioid receptors over the ?-opioid receptor.

A poultice of the steeped bruised leaves has been applied to fresh wounds. A decoction of the leaves and blossoms has been used in the treatment of heart problems, diarrhoea. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of measles.

Other Uses:
This species is used for revegetation efforts on reclaimed land, such as land that has been strip mined. It is good for preventing erosion and for fixing nitrogen in soil. Though it is often found in mid- to late-successional stages of ecological succession, it may also be a pioneer species, taking hold in bare and disturbed habitat, such as roadsides.[6]

Purple prairie clover provides food for a number of animals, such as pronghorn. It also grows in cultivated fields and becomes included in hay for livestock. It is nutritious and is “considered one of the most important legumes in native grasslands on the Great Plains.” It also had a number of uses for Native Americans. The leaves are edible and good for making tea and medicines, and the roots are palatable when chewed. The stems were used as brooms by the Pawnee people.

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.


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