Purple Prairieclover (Petalostemon purpureum)


Purple Prairieclover Petalostemon purpureum (Vent.) Rydb. (PEA FAMILY)

Purple prairieclover is a slender, erect perennial 1-2 ft tall growing from a short, vertical rootstock. The alternate, pinnately compound leaves have 3 to 7 leaflets, usually 5. The narrowly-linear leaflets are glabrous to pilose and glandular-punctate beneath. The inflorescence is a compressed cylindric spike of small purple to red-purple flowers. The flowers are not pealike, only 1 petal being well developed. The other apparent petals are actually staminodes. The fruit is a small legume, remaining enclosed in the densely villous calyx. Bruised leaves of this plant steeped in water were applied to fresh wounds by Indians. The Comanche chewed the roots and made a tea from the leaves.