WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Woody, 2–4-foot tall and wide with intricate branching, this rounded, thornless shrub has tiny hairless leaves and branches, but showy, rose-purple flowers with feathery plumes.


FLOWERS: April–August. Terminal, spike-like clusters of 2–10 pea-like flowers with 5 petals 3/16-inch (5 mm) long; 1 yellow upper petal (banner), 2 rose-colored wing petals , 2 fused rose-purple keel petals; sepals (calyx) gland-dotted with filament-like, feathery lobes that develop with the flower; pods flat, hairy.


LEAVES: Alternate. Semi-evergreen, odd-pinnately compound with 5–13 leaflets each 1/16-inch long (2–3 mm), hairless but underside dotted with glands.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly, clay loam soils, hills, mesas, canyons; shortgrass prairies, desert scrub, pinion-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,200–7,700 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The deciduous shrubby Black Dalea, D. frutescens, in the southern half of NM, lacks the feathery flowers.


NM COUNTIES: Nearly statewide (absent in McKinley, San Juan, Taos) in low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats.

 

FEATHER  DALEA,  FEATHER  PLUME

DALEA  FORMOSA

Fabaceae, Legume Family

Perennial shrub

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  1. 1.Banner petal (upper arrow).

  2. 2.Keel petals (middle arrow).

  3. 3.Wing petal (lower arrow).

  4. 4.The sepals (calyx) form feathery plumes  (right arrow).

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