WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Spherical clusters of tubular, pink to lavender-purple flowers cover leafy rounded mounds or mats that only reach 10-inches high. Note the compound leaves with long stems topped with 3 narrow, pointed leaflets.


FLOWERS: June–August. Clusters of 12–29 purple to lavender to violet, pea-like flowers bloom on erect, leafless stalks (peduncles) 2–7-inches long (5–18 cm); each tubular flower, 1/2-inch long (12–15 mm), has a compacted set of banner, wing, and keel petals; the banner (upper) petal tapers to a narrow point (not rounded or pointed). The sepal cup (calyx) beneath the petals has long, thin lobes covered with long (not tiny) hairs.


LEAVES: Basal. Palmately compound with 3 leaflets, narrowly lance-shaped, 1/2–5 3/4-inches long (11–45 mm); long hairs usually on both sides, margins entire. 


HABITAT: 8,900–12,800 feet.


ELEVATION: Rocky, gravel loam soils; aspen, spruce-fir forests, subalpine and alpine meadows.


RANGE: CO, NM.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The leaflets and calyx of Thickleaf Clover, T. dasyphyllus, in northern NM mountains, has tiny hairs, and a rounded to pointed, but not tapering, banner petal. The introduced and widespread Red Clover, T. pratense (see photo), has 3 leaf-like bracts immediately under the flower cluster.


NM COUNTIES: High-elevation habitats in the Sandias and northern NM mountains:  Bernalillo, Colfax, Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Taos.

ROCKY  MOUNTAIN  CLOVER

TRIFOLIUM  ATTENUATUM

Legume Family, Fabaceae

Perennial herb

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SIMILAR SPECIES

The naturalized and widespread Red Clover, Trifolium pratense, has leaf-like bracts underneath the flower cluster (arrows).

The banner (upper) petal tapers to a narrow point (arrow).

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