Herbs & Plants

Dalea formosa

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Botanical Name : Dalea formosa
Family : Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus: Dalea L. – prairie clover
Species: Dalea formosa Torr. – featherplume
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales

Synonym: Parosela formosa

Common Names: Featherplume, Feather-plume, Feather Dalea, Feathery Dalea,Yerba de Alonso Garcia

Habitat :Native to Arizona  Desert, Upland.Distributed to Colorado, southern Utah, western Texas and Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona , and northern Mexico . 2,000 to 6,500 (7,000) feet elevation  on dry, rocky hillsides , mountains, dry plains , mesas, southern canyons. Gravelly or rocky slopes in upper Mojavean, Arizona, and Chihuahuan deserts, desert grasslands, and southwestern oak woodland. In Arizona below the Mogollon Rim from Yavapai County southeastward to eastern Pima, Santa Cruz, and Cochise counties. It grows in dry, sunny, open areas and on rocky hillsides.

Dalea formosa is a Perennial, Deciduous Shrub or Subshrub grows Up to 3 feet (91 cm) tall

The flowers are pea-like, up to 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) long, sparsely clustered on loose flower spikes, and have a distinctive white-feathery calyx and a yellow or cream banner petal that fades to purple.Flowering Season is Spring to Summer  and flower Color is Purple and yellow or cream fading to all purple.

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The flowers are followed by flat, feathery seedpods. The leaves are alternate and pinnately compound with an odd number of small, gland-dotted, grayish green, narrowly oval, usually folded leaflets. The stems are grayish, woody, thornless, and well-branched from the base. This plant is long-lived, but rather slow-growing.

Fruit  is Obovate flat pod, 3 mm., pillose on apical margin, glandular-dotted, enclosed in calyx  indehiscent, 1-2 seeded .

Medicinal Uses:
Pueblo Indians and the Apaches used it as a treatment for growing pains and aching bones.  The Hopis use it for influenza and virus infections, considering it a “cold” herb for hot conditions.  New Mexican Spanish will make a strong bath with the branches and bathe in it for a couple of hours to relieve arthritic pains.
The Jemez Indians used decoction of leaves as a cathartic.

Other Uses:
Browsed by deer and lightly by livestock , kangaroo rats eat the seeds , pollinated by bees . Pueblo Indians dried the flowering branches for a sweet tea to relieve aches and growing pains. Hopi used as a remedy for influenza and viral infections (a “cold” herb for fevers) . The Acoma and Laguna Indians infused leaves as an emetic before breakfast, and to increase endurance and long wind for runners, as well as using it for firewood.  Sometimes used as an ornamental

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


Dalea formosa – Featherplume