Dalea gattingeri (A. Heller) Barneby

Gattinger's Prairie Clover


CC = 10
CW = 5
MOC = 1
SRank = S1

© SRTurner

Family - Fabaceae/Faboideae

Habit - Perennial forb with a thick, black rootstock and sometimes stout rhizomes.

Stems - Numerous from a spreading base, to 40 cm, prostrate to loosely ascending, branched, glabrous or sparsely pubsecent toward the tip, sparsely gland-dotted.

Dalea_gattingeri_stem.jpg Stem and leaves.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Alternate, to 4 cm, sometimes fascicled with a few smaller leaves appearing at the base of the main leaf. Blades pinnately compound, with rachis to 2.5 cm, gland-dotted, main leaves with 5-9 leaflets. Stipules 1.5 to 7 mm long. Leaflets 5-17 mm, to 1.5 mm wide, narrowly lanceolate or oblong, the margins inrolled, the upper surface glabrous, the lower surface gland-dotted and inconspicuously hairy.

Dalea_gattingeri_leaf.jpg Leaf.

© SRTurner

Inflorescences - Dense spikes, cylindrical, to 8 cm long, on a stalk 1-2 cm long, with numerous bracts, these hairy and sparsely gland-dotted.

Flowers - Calyces 5-lobed, with the tube to 2.5 mm long, densely hairy, the ribs often more or less obscured by the pubescence, the lobes 1.7-2.5 mm long, the margins hairy and occasionally with scattered glands. Corollas papilionaceous, pinkish purple, the banner with the expanded portion 2-3 mm long, the wing and keel petals similar, attached along the rim of the stamen tube, the expanded portion 2.2-3.0 mm long. Stamens 5, the anthers orange.

Dalea_gattingeri_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner


© SRTurner

Fruits - Short legumes enclosed in the persistent calyx, 2.0-2.4 mm long, firm and densely hairy above the membranous basal portion, inconspicuously and minutely gland-dotted.

Dalea_gattingeri_inflorescence3.jpg Developing fruits.

© SRTurner

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Dolomite glades.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - Other species of Dalea, such as D. purpurea.

Other info. - This small but pretty species of prairie clover is rare in Missouri, so far reported only from Howell County. Its range spans only three southeastern U.S. states, plus the small disjunct population extending from Howell County into a small portion of Arkansas. Though it can be locally abundant in these places, it is considered critically imperiled in Missouri and is also globally listed as a species of conservation concern.

Of the seven species of Dalea found in Missouri, this one is most similar in appearance to the far more common D. purpurea. It is distinguished from that species by its shorter and more decumbent habit and densely hairy bracts.

Photographs taken near White Ranch Conservation Area, Howell County, MO, 6-3-2017 (SRTurner).