Purple Prairie Clover

(Petalosstenium purpureum)

Purple Prairie Clover is a warm-season perennial native legume which reproduces from underground stems and seed. Plants are erect with several spreading branches. The plant varies in height from 1-2 feet tall and is easily identified by its purple cone shape seed head.

Purple Prairie Clover is adapted to the Great Plains and Prairies of the United States, especially the tall grass prairies. It performs best in areas receiving 20 inches or more annual rainfall and, is adapted to a wide variety of soils, but does best on sandy loam soils and soils of low fertility.

Purple prairie clover provides good cover and food source for wildlife, especially game birds. It is readily consumed by livestock when young and actively growing. This native legume is considered a decreaser in areas where overgrazing or overstocking of livestock occur.

The species is best utilized when blended in seed mixtures with native grasses, forbs, and/or other legumes. It is utilized primarily for land restoration and erosion control, wildlife plantings and beautification.

Purple Prairie Clover is best used as a component in range and pasture seedings, providing a legume for nitrogen assimilation. Seedings should be made on a well-prepared, firm weed free seedbed. Seeding rates of 1/4 – 1/2 pure live seed pounds per acre when blended with native forbs and grasses is adequate.

Purple Prairie Clover
Purple Prairie Clover

General Characteristics

Plant Type:Legume
Life Span:Perennial
Growing Season:Warm Season
Plant Height:1-2 feet
Cold Tolerance:Good
Drought Tolerance:Good
Salt Tolerance:Poor
Soil Type:Widely Adapted
Minimum Rainfall:12 inches
Planting Rate:4-8 pls#
Planting Date:Feb. - June
Seed Type:Smooth (Velvet Type)
Uses:Wildlife Habitat, Erosion Control, Reclamation