Dalea candida White Prairie Clover
Petalostemon candidum Seeds and Potted Plants

(DAY-lee-uh  kan-DEE-duh)

Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers
Native Wild Flower Plants and Seeds
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Dalea candida White Prairie Clover

Habitat Bloom Period Color Height Inches Moisture Plant Spacing Lifespan
Dalea candida, petalostemon candidum, white prairie clover Sun June and July White 18 to 24 inches  Dry to Average 12 to 24 Inches Perennial

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Dalea candida White Prairie Clover Potted Plants (currently sold out), $5 each plus boxing/shipping
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Dalea candida
White Prairie Clover  

number of seeds

approximate coverage
in square feet

1 packet - 

125 25 sq ft

1 ounce -

10,000  500 sq ft

1 pound ----------

 160,000 8,000 sq ft

Dalea candida, formerly Petalostemon candidum and commonly called white prairie clover, is a smoothly delicate plant with white flowers growing in 1 to 3 inch long cylindrical spikes.  The flowers begin to bloom at the base of the spike and proceed upward resulting in a narrow wreath of white on a green column.  Dalea candida wildflowers are host plants for Dogface Butterflies.  Dalea candida is named Dalea after the English botanist Samuel Dale and candidum, Latin for white.  White Prairie Clover has a deep taproot and will tolerate dry conditions but prefers adequate moisture and full sun.  Plant Native White Prairie Clover in the butterfly garden or prairie meadow with other native wildflowers.  
     Plant White Prairie clover seeds in fall/winter or scarify seeds by rubbing between two sheets of coarse sandpaper before planting in early spring.

Native White Prairie Clover occurs naturally on glades, prairies, and savannas from Indiana to Minnesota, and Saskatchewan, south to Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.  Fabaceae (Bean Family)

The map below shows areas where native Dalea candida White Prairie Clover wildflowers grow wild but they can be planted and will grow over most of the Midwest and Eastern US.  USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9.

Dalea candida
White Prairie Clover


New Hampshire
New Mexico

North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota

(AB, MB, ON, SK)

Dalea candida White Prairie Clover Petalostemon candidum Plant distribution map complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
  (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Alternate Names - Slender white prairie clover, prairie clover and Bloka (Lakota).

        This leguminous forb produces palatable and nutritious forage for all classes of livestock and is an important browse species for antelope, deer, elk, and upland game birds, particularly sharp-tail grouse. Plains pocket gophers utilize the taproots and numerous birds and rodents eat the seed. This species will decrease and disappear under persistent overgrazing. It has an important ecological role 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. Native Americans used the plant for both food and medicine. The Lakota chewed the roots for its pleasant, sweet taste, and they made tea from dry leaves. Other Great Plains Indians bruised the leaves and steeped them in water for application to fresh wounds.  The Pawnees called the plant broom weed because they bundled the tough stems together to make a broom for sweeping their lodges. 

       Legume family (Fabaceae). White prairie clover is an attractive landscape plant that has fine textured leaves and grows 2 to 3 feet tall in small clumps. The stems tend to be single with a few upright branches near the top. The stems are ridged or ribbed longitudinally. The bright green, alternately attached leaves are pinnately compound with an odd number (usually 5 to 9) of narrow leaflets. The leaflets have glandular dots on their lower surface that can be seen with magnification. Flowering occurs from early to mid-June to July or August in Kansas. The small white flowers are packed into dense cylindrical spikes (3/8 to 2 1/8 inches) on the terminal ends of stems. The flowers are much simplified from the typical pea-like flowers of the legume family with most petals being reduced except for a single banner petal. The first flowers to open are at the bottom of the spike and progress upward toward the tip. Pollination is accomplished by numerous insects ranging from wasps to bumble bees. The fruit is a thin-walled pod (legume) approximately 1/8 of an inch long containing a single seed (rarely two). The greenish-brown seed is asymmetrically kidney shaped and a little more than 1/16 inch long.

        This species is found growing primarily on well drained sandy, gravelly, and silt type soils, rarely on clay or lowland sites. It occurs on sites that receive 10 to 18 inches of precipitation. Thus it would be found growing  most commonly in mid to short grass prairie plant communities. It has been observed as a pioneer species on disturbed shallow soils or gravel.

             White prairie clover is easy to propagate by seed. Scarification will improve total germination and speed of germination. Mechanical scarification using sandpaper or a laboratory scarifier is acceptable. White prairie clover should be planted on a prepared, weed free, firm seedbed. The seedbed should be firm enough to allow planting at a to inch depth. Full seeding rate is 4 pounds per acre; however, this species will normally be planted as a minor component in a native seed mixture at a rate of .5 pound per acre or less. Seeding of the forb component in alternate rows or cross planting with the grass component will ensure better forb establishment and stand longevity. Early spring seeding will produce the best results. The processed seed of Antelope Germplasm has 278,000 seeds per pound. With any planting containing forb and shrub species, broadleaf weed species can become a problem.

             Weed management during the first year establishment of native forbs is essential to produce a healthy stand. Mowing at a height that will not affect white prairie clover seedlings is one method of reducing weed competition. White prairie clover has good relative forage quality, but suffers from having relatively low forage yield when compared to other native legume species. White prairie clover should improve forage digestibility when planted in pasture situations with native warm season grasses. Native legumes such as white prairie clover fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and make it available to grass species planted in association with it.

           Rabbits prefer the foliage of this plant and can damage young plantings of this species. Plains pocket gophers can damage the tap root of this species. White prairie clover is a food plant for the larvae stage of the isola blue butterfly Hemiagus isola. White prairie clover was discovered to be a host for Megacyllene angulifera in Carbon County, Montana. Investigation of plant damage revealed 10 per cent of the root had extensive injury from the feeding of the cerambycid larvae.  Plant Pathologists at Kansas State University found that the rust species Uropyxis petalostemonis had an increased incidence of disease on white prairie clover that had been irrigated. The rust disease had a profound effect on the relative fitness and fecundity of the white clover population on the Konza Prairie Biological Station. 

         White prairie clover should not cause any environmental concerns since it does not spread aggressively by seed or vegetative means.