WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Wands tipped with gold wave in the breeze when this flower sends up its 1–2-foot tall, erect bloom stalks. Silky, gray hairs cover the spike, leaves, and stem. Note the dense, cone-like spike with a single row of blooming yellow, pea-like flowers.


FLOWER: April–July. Bright yellow, 1/2-inch (13 mm) long flowers are bilaterally symmetrical with an upper banner petal to 3/16-inch (5 mm) long. The 2 wings and 2 fused keel petals are inserted just above the middle of the stamen tube. Flowers form a single spiral as they bloom upward on a densely packed, silky-hairy, cone-shaped spike 3/4–2-inches long.


LEAVES: Alternate. Blades pinnately compound with 3–5 (7) leaflets along a midrib, each linear to oval with pointed tip and base, 3/8–3/4-inch (10–20 mm) long, smaller up the stem; surfaces sparingly silky above, densely silky below.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly loam, valleys, hills, mesas, roadsides; desert grasslands and scrub, shortgrass prairies.


ELEVATION: 3,200–7,200 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, KS, NE, NM, OK, SD, TX, WY.


SIMILAR SPECIES: About 30 species of Dalea in NM, some woody or shrubby. Other yellow-flowering species include Dwarf Prairie Clover, D. nana, in the eastern and western counties of NM, only 2–8 inches tall with sprawling, branching stems and leaflets with rounded tips. Wright’s Prairie-Clover, D. wrightii, in the southern half of NM has 4-inch tall, densely silky, leafy stems and leaves with 5–7 leaflets with pointed tips. James’s Prairie Clover, D. jamesii, nearly statewide, has erect, 4-inch tall, densely silky stems and 3 leaflets.


NM COUNTIES: Eastern half of NM in low- to medium-elevation grassland habitats: Colfax, Curry, Dona Ana, Eddy, Harding, Los Alamos, Mora, Otero, Quay, Roosevelt, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Torrance, Union.

GOLDEN  PRAIRIE-CLOVER  (GOLDEN  DALEA)

DALEA  AUREA

Legume (Pea) Family, Fabaceae

Perennial herb

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Silky, cone-like spike with bilaterally symmetrical flowers.

Alternate compound leaves with 3–5 linear to oval leaflets (arrow).

Range Map for

Dalea aurea.

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