Fabaceae Dalea flavescens

Tiny white flowers clumped on the end of a green stem

Dalea flavescens var. flavescens

Family: Fabaceae (A Utah Flora – Leguminosae) – Pea Family

Perennial herbs; stems 8” to 1.7' (20 to 52 cm) tall

Leaves: alternate; compound; leaves 0.6” to 1.9” (1.5 to 4.7 cm) long; 3 to 7 leaflets, 0.2” to 0.8” (5 to 20 mm) long, 0.04” to 0.4” (1 to 9 mm) wide; folded or flat; has hairs

Flowers: 5 tiny white petals (a banner, 2 wings and 2 keels), petals are 0.25” to 0.44” (6.2 to 11 mm) long; sepals are 5 lobed and 10 ribbed; 5 stamens; flowers densely clustered at the top of the stalks

Pollinators: other genera in this family are pollinated by insects (specifically bees, moths and butterflies)

Fruits: legume pod

Blooms in Arches National Park: May, June, July

Habitat in Arches National Park: grasslands, desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities, commonly in sandy soils

Location seen: park road mile 4, park road at Petrified Dunes, park road mile 13 and Devils Garden campground

Other: The genus name, “Dalea”, honors Samuel Dale (1659-1739), an English physician, botanist and gardener who was the author of several botanical works and a treatise on medicinal plants. The species name, “flavescens”, means “becoming yellow, yellowish”.

This plant is endemic to Emery, Garfield, Grand, Kane, San Juan, Sevier and Wayne Counties in Utah and adjacent areas in Arizona.

This family is ranked second to grasses in importance to people because species can fix nitrogen. However, some species, e.g., locoweeds and milkvetches, are poisonous due to selenium abstracted from the soil.

Last updated: February 5, 2022

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