Botanical Name: Dalea candida oligophylla
Synonyms: Petalostemon oligophyllum
Common Name: White Prairie Clover
Habitat: Dalea candida oligophylla 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 oligophylla is a perennial herb growing erect to a maximum height around 1 meter (3 ft 3 in), its taproot growing up to 5 or 6 feet (1.5 or 1.8 m) deep. The alternately arranged leaves are each composed of several narrow, gland-dotted, light green leaflets. The inflorescence is a dense cylindrical spike of flowers at the tip of each stem or stem branch. The spike is packed with the pointed green calyces of sepals, the lower ones bearing corollas of white petals and the higher ones blooming later. The fruit is a green oval legume pod containing one seed.
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 nearby.
Through seed – pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and sow in early spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer
Roots are edible -eaten raw or chewed for its pleasant sweet flavour. The root can be dried, ground into a powder and stored for later use. Leaves – cooked. The peeled stems have been used as a food. A tea-like beverage is made from the dried leaves.
The plant is a strong emetic. A poultice of the plant has been used to treat wounds.Among the Ramah Navajo, the candida variety is used for stomachache and as a “life medicine”, especially for fever. A compound decoction is used to treat “snake infection” in sheep.
An infusion of the roots has been used as a hair wash to prevent the hair from falling out. The plant has been used for making light brooms.
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.