Species At Risk Profile: Silky Prairie-Clover

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Common Name: Hairy Prairie-Clover, Silky Prairie-Clover
Species Name: Dalea villosa var. villosa
Description: Hairy prairie-clover is a member of the Fabaceae, or Pea, Family.  Their flowers are pale rose-purple or, rarely, white, and appear from mid-July to mid-August.  Leaves and stems are densely covered with hairs, giving them a distinct velvety texture and silvery-green colour. The leaves are made up of a number of small leaflets arranged down both sides of a leaf stalk, like the leaves of garden pea plants.
Where it can be found: In Manitoba this plant can be found on active sandy dunes that run from the Langford Pasture, through Shilo, and south to the U.S. border, and requires open sand or sandhill blowouts, although it can also tolerate partially stabilized sandy sites.  At least two Clover sites have been lost in Manitoba – Boissevain and Treesbank, near Spruce Woods Provincial Park.
Threats: Sand stabilization and destabilization affect the survivability of the Clover.  Ideally it prefers recently transported sand beds with scattered vegetation cover; invasive exotic species such as leafy spurge, overgrazing of its habitat (particularly if done to the point of destabilizing the sand), and habitat loss and degradation as a result of military, recreational and road maintenance activities can create open sand that is unsuitable for establishment, although some kind of disturbance regime is required in order to minimize competition and prevent elimination.
Information Sources: MB Conservation, Photo Credit:Keir Morse