Saturday, June 27, 2009
Summer Farewell - Dalea pinnata
Summer farewell (Dalea pinnata) is a member of the prairie clover genus and a wonderful addition to a wildflower garden. Native to much of the northern two-thirds of Florida, summer farewell also occurs in Georgia and the two Carolinas. Throughout this range, it is native to sandy upland habitats and open sunny conditions.
The Latin name is derived from its finely pinnate leaves. These are a rich green in color and help make this plant attractive even when it is not in bloom. Summer farewell makes its appearance in early spring. The stems are reddish and these eventually reach 2-3 feet in height before the plant blooms in late fall. Many dozens of bright red flower buds are formed on the tips of the stems and these eventually burst open to create a display of pure white flowers. Each rounded bud may contain over 30 flowers and they remain in bloom for several weeks. Eventually the flowers fade, but the ripened seeds produce a feathery appendage that is silvery grey and attractive in its own right.
Summer farewell needs a good sunny location and excellent drainage to prosper in the wildflower garden. If you can provide this, plant it in clusters of at least 5. This is a plant that might get lost in a mixed planting if not planted in groups. Because of its height, place it in the middle of the planting - not in the very front, but not in the back where its subtle form and color cannot be easily observed.
Hawthorn Hill is excited to have this beautiful wildflower available to wildflower enthusiasts. After several years of searching, we found a good local seed source that provided us the plants we now grown in our garden and collect from. Plants take 2 years to bloom from seed so our seedlings will not bloom until fall 2010.