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Dalea candida variety oligophylla
Dalea candida variety oligophylla
Dalea candida variety oligophylla. Synonym: Dalea occidentalis. (Silvery Dalea)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings. Summer.
Above: Lower Butler Wash, Utah, October 27, 2013 and left: De-Na-Zin/Bisti Wilderness, New Mexico, August 5, 2007.

At first glance this blur of a myriad of green stems, white flowers, and brown seeds certainly does not appear to be a member of the Pea Family (Fabaceae).  Even a closer look at the flowers still leaves one confused about the family.  This is the only member of our native Peas in which, quoting Intermountain Flora, "the keel and wing petals are inserted in sockets on the staminal column, not directly on the hypanthium rim".  It is difficult to see this without a hand lens, since, as you can see in the flower photos below, petals and stamens twist and overlap.

The genus was named in 1758 by an unknown citizen of Lucca and is thus attributed to "Lucanus".  The species was named by Andre Michaux in 1802 from specimens he collected in Tennessee and Illinois.  Samuel Dale, 1659-1739, was a British botanist.  "Candida" is Latin for "white" or "brilliant" and "oligophylla" is Greek for "few-leaved".  (More biographical information.)

Dalea candida variety oligophylla
Dalea candida variety oligophylla. Synonym: Dalea occidentalis. (Silvery Dalea)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings. Summer.
De-Na-Zin/Bisti Wilderness, August 5, 2007.

The photograph at left shows the lovely but twisted and tangled form of the flowers.  The photograph immediately below magnifies the flower in the lower right of the photograph at left.  

In the photograph below, the hypanthium (the cup formed by the fused bases of the stamens, petals, and sepals) is red.  At the top center is a large white petal, the banner.  Overlapping the lower right of the banner is a brilliant white petal, the keel. Dalea candida variety oligophylla Follow the narrow stem of the keel down toward the center of the photograph and you will see it attached.  Follow left and downward around the point of attachment and you will see that the spatula-shaped petal (one of the "wings") at the seven o'clock position in the photograph is attached to the same structure.  Immediately to the right you will see two stamens attached (with pollen sacs at the top of one) and then the next spatula-shaped petal (the other wing).

 

Dalea candida variety oligophylla
Dalea candida variety oligophylla. Synonym: Dalea occidentalis. (Silvery Dalea)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings. Summer.
De-Na-Zin/Bisti Wilderness, August 5, 2007.

Dalea candida variety oligophylla. Synonym: Dalea occidentalis. (Silvery Dalea)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings. Summer.
De-Na-Zin/Bisti Wilderness, August 5, 2007.

Gone to seed.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Dalea candida

Dalea candida variety oligophylla

Range map for Dalea candida variety oligophylla