The Wonderful Prairie Clovers

Any plants that can bring beauty as well as function to your landscape are great. Many of the legumes fit this category. Their interesting floral colors and shapes coupled with their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil make them wonderful additions to any garden setting. One genus that is worth your consideration are the prairies clovers (Dalea sp.). Here at Prairie Moon we carry the purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea – http://bit.ly/1jeKKfx), the white prairie clover(Dalea candida – http://bit.ly/1w2rl1R), and occasionally the silky prairie clover(Dalea villosa – http://bit.ly/1k6xlkH). These wonderful members of the pea family are at home in the prairies of midwestern North America but do just as well in a variety of other habitats. They have been widely used as soil stabilizers on steep slopes or highly disturbed habitats. They have even been used in mine land reclamation. The secret to their success lies in the special nodules that form on their roots. These nodules function as homes for specialized bacteria called “rhizobia”. It isn’t the plants that fix nitrogen but rather these bacteria. We provide a free packet of rhizobia inoculum with every legume seed purchase. Simply sprinkle the contents of the packet over the dampened seeds before either stratifying or sowing. Prairie clovers aren’t just good for the soil, they are also great for wildlife. Their flowers provide ample nectar and pollen for pollinators and their seeds are an important food source for granivores. On the prairies, these plants are a very important component of the food web. Adding these plants to your landscape is a no brainer.

Petalostemum-canddium-White-Prairie-Clover-flower

Lead-Plant-Illinois-Tick-Trefoil-Rattlesnake-Master-White-Prairie-Clover

Petalostemum-purpureum-Purple-Prairie-Clover-closeup

purple prairie clover - dalea purpurea

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