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Illinois Native Plant Guide - Purple Prairie Clover - Pages 106-107

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Purple Prairie Clover
Petalostemum purpureum

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

Mesic prairie species. Species does not tolerate inundation.

Wildlife Value

Highly palatable and nutritious for grazing.


Used for upland slope buffer stabilization. Deep taproot with extensive vertical branching helps to stabilize sandy soils in prairie and dry slopes.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • Propagation is best by seed. Seed can be scarified by removing the hull, stratifying at
    33-38o F for 10 days. Inoculation with Santofoin type F rhizobium produces more vigorous plants, but is not necessary. Seed can then be planted in the spring and will emerge in 6 to 10 days.
  • Seed can also be planted in the fall for overwintering instead of the above treatments, but the treatments may increase the germination rate.
  • Transplanting is difficult because of the deep taproot but can be done with potted plants.
  • This species is not competitive in early growth and may be difficult to establish in clayey, reworked soil.

Purple Prairie Clover
Petalostemum purpureum

Mature Height
1-3 feetPurple Prairie Clover

Plant Type
Perennial herb

Indicator Status


Nutrient Load Tolerance

Salt Tolerance
Not available

Siltation Tolerance

Flowering Color and Time
July to September

Light Preference
Full sun

Seeding Rate
.25 lbs/acre

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