South Dakota Native Plant Research
Fabaceae : Dalea candida

Fabaceae : Dalea candida


Download Seed: Seeds are 1.5 to 2.5 mm long. (81 KB)

Download Seedling: Two month old white prairie clover seedling grown in research greenhouse at SDSU. (129 KB)

Download Vegetative: leaves contain 3-9 leaflets. (978 KB)

Download Flowering: The flowers are terminal on the main stem. (328 KB)

Download Fruiting: The indehiscent fruit pods produce 1 seed each. (432 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

White prairie clover, Prairie clover, Slender prairie clover

Native American Name

Lakota: tȟokȟála tȟapȟéžuta hú bloká


Dalea candida is a perennial herb with 1-several erect stems, simple or branching from above, growing from a caudex attached to a thick taproot, each stem 30 to 100 cm in height. The alternate, compound odd-pinnate, leaves are 1.5-6 cm long, with a short petiole, and 5-13 narrow, gland-dotted, light green leaflets, each 5-35 mm long. The inflorescence is a loose to dense cylindrical spike of flowers, 1.5-7.5 cm long, at the tip of each stem or stem branch. Each flower has a green calyx tube 1.9-2.7 mm long with teeth 0.6-1.8 mm long. The papilionaceous corollas have white clawed (narrowed at the base) petals that measure above the claws: banner 4-5.7 mm long, the wings and keel 3.2-5.3 mm long. The flowers at the base open first and the upper ones bloom later. The fruit is a green oval legume pod, 2.5-4.5 mm long, containing one seed. White prairie clover blooms from May to August on prairies, open woodlands and roadsides throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

White prairie clover has bright, white flowers that start blooming at the base of a cylindrical cone, and continue to wrap upwards as the season progresses, attracting bees, birds, and butterflies. These plants are easily grown from seed and will self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in July and August when they turn brown in color.

Germination: Remove the pod tissue before planting to ensure germination. Fall planting with the seeds still inside the legume will also provide good results.

Soils: Rocky, gravelly, sandy or clay soil.

Light: Full sun

Water: Prefer dry to mesic conditions.

Fabaceae : Dalea candida