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Black Dalea

Dalea frutescens

Other common name(s):

Black Prairie Clover

Family:

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Central Great Plains, Chihuahuan Deserts, Cross Timbers, Edwards Plateau, Southern Texas Plains, Southwestern Tablelands, Texas Blackland Prairies
Limestone Plains, Red Prairie
Chihuahuan Basins and Playas, Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands, Chihuahuan Montane Woodlands, Low Mountains and Bajadas, Stockton Plateau
Eastern Cross Timbers, Grand Prairie, Limestone Cut Plain, Western Cross Timbers
Balcones Canyonlands, Edwards Plateau Woodland, Llano Uplift, Semiarid Edwards Plateau
Northern Nueces Alluvial Plains, Rio Grande Floodplain and Terraces, Semiarid Edwards Bajada, Texas-Tamaulipan Thornscrub
Caprock Canyons Badlands Breaks
Northern Blackland Prairie

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Shrub

Height

1
to
3
ft.

Spread

1
to
3
ft.

Leaf Retention

Semi Evergreen

Lifespan

Perennial

Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Clay, Limestone, Dry

Light Requirement

Sun

Water Requirement

Low

Native Habitat

Grassland

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

Purple

Bloom Season

Summer, Fall

Seasonal Interest

Nectar, Pollen, Larval Host

Wildlife Benefit

Butterflies, Nectar Insects, Bees

Maintenance

Native to dry, limestone soils. Once established, this plant requires little or no maintenance. Eventually becomes drought-resistant. Can be cut back in winter, once leaves have browned, to create compact shape if needed. Do not fertilize. If overwatered and fertilized can become leggy, produce weak growth, and reduce flowering. A good mounding shrub for mass planting in any garden. Propagation: Seed.

Comments

Blooms July-October. Shrub up to 3 feet tall. Small, purple, flowers in dense heads at the ends of branches. Compound leaves, with tiny leaflets. Fruit an inconspicuous capsule. Rabbits and deer will browse on this plant. Provides nectar for bees and other nectar insects. Larval Host: Dogface butterfly
Previous Scientific Name(s): Synonym/s: Dalea frutescens var. laxa

References

1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) Wasowski and Wasowski, Native Texas Plants Landscaping Region by Region, 1991, pg. 239. 3) https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=DAFR2. 4) http://bonap.net/TDC/Image/Map?taxonType=Species&taxonId=10898&locationType=County&mapType=Normal. 5) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=26617#null, 6) Native and Adapted Landscape Plants, City of Austin and Texas A&M, 2014, 7) https://portal.torcherbaria.org/portal/taxa/index.php?taxon=Dalea+frutescens&formsubmit=Search+Terms