Dalea jamesii has bright yellow flowers in clusters that turn reddish brown as they age. The leaves are trifoliately compound and whitish hairy on both sides. The calyx lobes are plumose. Dalea jamesii is found in dry, rocky plains.
Kearney and Peebles 1961, Correll and Johnston 1970, Allred and Ivey 2012, Martin and Hutchins 1980
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herb, about 10 cm tall, from a thick woody caudex; stems numerous, ascending, covered with silky hairs. Leaves: Alternate and palmately 3-foliate, on petioles 1-2 cm long; leaflets obovate or wedge-shaped, 8-15 mm long, densely silky-canescent on both sides. Flowers: Yellow and fading to red or purplish, in dense spikes, 2-6 cm long at branch tips, each flower subtended by a purple-tinged ovate bract with a long-tapering tip; flowers 1-2 cm long, with pea-flower morphology (papilionaceous), with a wide upper petal called the banner, two smaller lateral petals called the wings, and a boat-shaped lower petal called the keel which contains the style and stamens. Petals yellow when fresh and fading to purplish or red-brown as they dry; sepals 5, abundantly silky-hirsute, united at the base into a tube 3 mm long, this topped with 5 narrow plumose teeth which are longer than the tube. Fruits: Pod villous, small and contained within the persistent hairy calyx; containing 1 or 2 seeds. Ecology: Found on dry hills, juniper plains, desertscrub, rocky slopes, and grasslands, from 5,000-6,500 ft (1524-1981 m); flowers April-July. Distribution: KS and CO to s AZ, NM, w TX, and n MEX. Notes: This low-growing herbaceous Dalea is widespread in New Mexico and relatively uncommon elsewhere. Look for the clover-like leaves, each consisting of 3 oblong or wedge-shaped leaflets which are covered with long silky hairs and don't have any glands; the dense spikes of hairy flowers, each flower usually with a purple bract just below it; and the flowers with yellow petals which fade to brick-red or purple when they dry. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Dalea is named for Samuel Dale (1659-1739) an English physician and botanist; jamesii honors Edwin P. James (1797-1861), an American naturalist and botanical explorer in the Rocky Mountains. Editor: AHazelton 2017