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Fremont's Dalea (Psorothamnus fremontii)
Shrubs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Fremont's Dalea (Psorothamnus fremontii)

General: For most of the year, Fremont's Dalea (Psorothamnus fremontii) is a leafless, bone-white, many branched, mid-sized, tortured-looking shrub (like it had been stomped on and twisted up). During the spring, however, the plant makes up for it by putting on many pinnately compound leaves and big showy displays of brilliant violet-blue pea flowers.

Fremont's Dalea is a fairly common component of dry hillsides and bajadas in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone and seems to do well on thin soils overlying caliche.

Fremont's Dalea (Psorothamnus fremontii)

Family: Pea (Fabaceae).

Other Names: indigo bush, Mojave dalia

Plant Form: A finely branched, mid-sized perennial shrub. Spreads from a single stem.

Height: Usually about thigh-high (2-3 feet).

Bark: Gray-green to white. White during most of the year.

Stems: Intricately branched; Branch tips spiny.

Fremont's Dalea (Psorothamnus fremontii)

Leaves: Compound (odd-1-pinnate), gray-green. Leaflets 3–25 mm, long and narrow.

Flowers: Typical pea-family type flower. Violet-blue flowers arranged in clusters (raceme) about 5 inches long. Intense color. Petal lobes unequal, upper pair largest.

Seeds: Fruit is a bean pod with a sharp point and small, red glands. One bean per pod.

Habitat: Dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils in washes, bajadas, and moderate slopes in the lower mountains. Seems to do well with a thin layer of soil overlying caliche.

Fremont's Dalea (Psorothamnus fremontii)

Elevation: 1,000 to 4,000 feet.

Distribution: Southwestern US.

Comments: Native Americans used the vivid-purple flowers as a dye.

Fremont's Dalea (Psorothamnus fremontii) Fremont's Dalea (Psorothamnus fremontii)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 101102

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