South Dakota Native Plant Research
Fabaceae : Dalea enneandra

Fabaceae : Dalea enneandra


Download Seedling: Two month old seedling grown in research greenhouse at SDSU. (53 KB)

Download Vegetative: The leaflets of slender dalea have glandular dots. (109 KB)

Download Mature plants (1.6 MB)

Download Flowering: Each spike can contain 5-35 flowers. (592 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Nine-anther prairie clover

Native American Name

Lakota: heȟáka tȟapȟéžuta


Dalea enneandra is a perennial herb with 1-3 erect stems, branched above the middle, which are 5-10 dm tall and arise from a caudex attached to a yellow taproot. The alternate, nearly sessile, pinnately compound leaves are 1.3-2.6 cm long, with leaves on the main stem often deciduous by time of anthesis. The leaves 5-13 leaflets, narrowly oblanceolate, 4-12 mm long with black glands on the leaflets and midrib. The inflorescence consists of terminal, 2-ranked spikes, with 5-35 flowers, subtended by bracts, 3-4 mm long with pale or white membranous margins. The calyx tube is covered with silky hairs, 3-3.7 mm long with 5 teeth 3.3-4.6 mm long. The papilionaceous white petals are clawed (narrowed at the base) with the remainder of the petals measuring as follows: banner 5.7-7 mm, wings 2.8-4.1 mm, and the keel 5.5-7 mm long. There are 9 stamens. The fruit are one-seeded legumes, 3-4 mm long. Nine-anther prairie clover blooms in July and August in prairies, on hillside and in stream valleys in most of South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Nine-anther prairie clover is an easily overlooked species in a native plant garden. Its sparse vegetation and small flowers allow it to easily disappear among the other plants. However, its flowers attract several species of bumblebees.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in August and September, when fruit become yellowish brown in color. Remove the pod tissues to improve germination.

Germination: Fall sowing is the easiest method for planting. Gentle scarification of the seedcoat with fine sandpaper will increase germination of spring planted seeds.

Soils: Tolerates most soil types, but prefers calcareous soils.

Light: Full sun.

Water: Moderate to dryer conditions

Fabaceae : Dalea enneandra