Dalea purpurea
Purple prairie clover
Image of Dalea purpurea

Photo by Bradford S. Slaughter 

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Key Characteristics

Perennial forb of dry to dry-mesic prairies and savannas; leaves pinnately divided with 3-5 narrow, inrolled leaflets; flowers purple, in cone-like clusters borne on the ends of the stem.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: X
  • State Rank: SX
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Clair11915
Van Buren11986
Distribution map for Dalea purpurea

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Michigan's colonies were known from dry to dry-mesic, open sites with a history of natural and artificial disturbance.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Virtually no data are available for Michigan. In Illinois this species occurs with such plants as little bluestem, leadplant, prairie cinquefoil, side-oats grama grass, needle grass, western silvery aster, furrowed flax, prairie smoke, and kitten-tails.


This prairie species may yet persist in Michigan, and thus status surveys are warranted. Management would require maintenance of open, dry prairie habitat through the use of prescribed fire.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Sep 25, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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