Purple Prairie Clover

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Scientific Name

Dalea purpurea Vent.

Short Description

Purple Prairie Clover is a native legume with narrow slender leaves and purple cylindrical flowers.  


Purple prairie clover is a native warm-season perennial legume adapted to all but the eastern tier and western tier states of the United States. Purple prairie clover is very desirable component of warm season grass plantings.  It is readily grazed by all classes of livestock and is an important food source for upland game birds.  It is most abundant in upland sites in sand prairies, hill prairies, and gravel-hill prairies.  Purple prairie clover has very showy cylindrical flowers and narrow slender leaves making it a very attractive and non-invasive ornamental plant for the gardens or wildflower plantings.

Plant Taxonomy of Purple Prairie Clover

 Kingdom  Plantae 
 Subkingdom  Tracheobionta
 Superdivision   Spermatophyta
 Division     Magnoliophyta
 Class    Magnoliopsida   
 Subclass  Asteridae
 Order   Asterales  
 Family     Asteraceae
 Genus    Dalea L.
 Species   Dalea purpurea Vent.

Plant Characteristics of Purple Prairie Clover

 Height  12 to 36 inches
 Growth habit  several stems from a single base
 Bloom color  pinkish-purple
 Bloom period  early summer
 Sun requirement  full sun
 Leaf foilage color  green narrow leaflets
 Seeds per pound  300,000 hulled
 Minimum soil temperature for germination  65 ºF
 Soil pH range  6.5 to 8.0
 Planting Rate  3 oz/1000 or 8 lbs/acre
 Planting Depth  ¼ to ½ inch
 Planting season  scarified seed: spring; unscarified seed: fall

*Special considerations for spring germination:  seed germination can be improved with mechanical scarification. Seed needs to be inoculated with Rhizobium for nitrogen fixation to occur. Germination of scarified seed generally occurs within 2 weeks after planting provided adequate soil moisture and temperature conditions are met.

Uses of Purple Prairie Clover


Attractive in mass plantings as well as in species mixes


Important food source, insect attractant and cover for game birds

Erosion Control

When combined with grasses, forbs, and legumes

Commercially Available Cultivars of Purple Prairie Clover

'Kaneb' (released by the Manhattan Plant Materials Center, Manhattan, Kansas)

Purple Prairie Clover Seedling and Growth Guide

18 days after planting                                                                 28 days after planting

34 days after planting                                                             65 days after planting