Petalostemon candidum (Willd.) Michx. - White Prairie Clover
Family - Fabaceae
Stems - From a stout woody caudex, erect, herbaceous, single or multiple from base, simple, to +/-75cm tall, glabrous, striate, terete.
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.
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.
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.
Photographs taken off Hwy H, Shannon County, MO., 7-18-03.