Other names: thimbleweed, red tassel
Blooming time: June to September
Height: 1-2 ft.
Stems and Leaves: Purple prairie clover may
have 8-10 slender, erect stems arising from one root
system. The leaves are short and petioled with an odd
number of 1/4-3/4 inch leaflets.
Flowers and Fruit: Individual flowers are
about 1/4 in. long and cluster tightly around a
cylindrical cone starting at the base of the head and
working upward as the season advances. Each flower has
one large petal and four smaller ones, all on slender
claws. The flower spike is from 1/2 -2 inches long.
Interesting facts: American Indians used a tea
made from the prairie clover plant to treat open wounds.
A tea made from crushed root was thought to be a
preventative medicine. Settlers mixed the bark of the
white oak with the flowers of prairie clover to make a
drink they used as a medicine for diarrhea. The Ponca
chewed the roots for the pleasant taste. Indian women
gathered the tough, elastic stems to make brooms. The
prairie clovers enrich the soil by adding nitrogen to
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Page last updated March 24, 2015
Text resources: Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie- The Upper Midwest,
Sylvan T. Runkel and Dean M. Roosa;
A Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Northeastern and
North-central North America, Roger Tory Peterson and
Photos by Barb McGee - bjmcreations.com