Petalostemon candidum (Willd.) Michx. - White Prairie Clover

Petalostemon candidum plant

Family - Fabaceae

Stems - From a stout woody caudex, erect, herbaceous, single or multiple from base, simple, to +/-75cm tall, glabrous, striate, terete.

Petalostemon candidum stem

Leaves - Alternate, stipulate, odd-pinnate. Stipules needle-like, quickly drying, attenuate, to 4mm long, glabrous. Leaves with typically 5-9 leaflets, to 5cm long, axis glabrous. Leaflets with petiolules to 1mm long, entire, glabrous, oblanceolate, to 2.2cm long, 6nn broad, with a single midrib (prominent below), punctate abaxially, rounded to subacute at the apex, often with a small mucro. Terminal leaflet larger than the laterals.

Petalostemon candidum leavesPressed leaves.

Inflorescence - Dense terminal indeterminate spike to +/-4cm long, 1cm in diameter. Flowers sessile, each subtended by 2 opposite needle-like bracts. Bracts pubescent, +1mm long.

Flowers - Petals 5, white, long-clawed, glabrous, to 5mm long. Claw filiform. Expanded limb to +2mm long, 2mm broad. Stamens 5, united into a partial tube for the basal 1/2 of their length, to 6mm long, white and glabrous. Anthers pale yellow, -1mm broad. Ovary green, sparse pubescent, subglobose, -1mm long. Style glabrous, whitish, 5mm long. Fruit slightly beaked from a persistent style.

Petalostemon candidum flowersFlowers.

Flowering - May - July.

Habitat - Prairies, rocky open glades, rocky open woods, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species can be found throughout Missouri. The plant is easy to identify in the field because of its divided leaves and clusters of white flowers.
A synonym is Dalea candida Willd.

Photographs taken off Hwy H, Shannon County, MO., 7-18-03.


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