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A native of the prairie, white prairie-clover has a distinctive wreath of tiny white flowers around a spike. The flowers bloom for about a month in early to mid-summer. This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Pea
  • Family (botanic) Fabaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches), Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Dry soil, Sandy soil
  • Tolerances Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Upright
  • Growth rate Fast, Moderate


White prairie-clover is 1 1/2 to 3 feet tall and 12 to 18 inches wide. 

Native geographic location and habitat: 

This plant is native to the Chicago area. C-Value: 10

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

This local native attracts multiple pollinators, including butterflies, birds and hummingbirds.

Leaf description: 

The alternate, compound leaves have smaller leaflets arranged on opposite sides of the stem and one at the end. Its full size is between 2 and 7 inches.

Flower description: 

Multiple tiny flowers form a wreath around a flower spike and bloom upward as the season progresses. The flowers are held at the ends of pale green, ridged stems.

Fruit description: 

The fruit is dry, tiny, flat and egg-shaped, similar to a very small pea-pod.

Plant care: 

White prairie-clover should be planted in full sun, in moist to dry, well-drained soil. It does not transplant well because of a deep taproot, but it will reseed.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

This plant has no serious problems. It has good drought resistance.


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