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.


  1. Do you have any photos of Dalea pinnata seedlings?

  2. Don't believe I do. Will take some next time. They emerge on skinny stems (~1/8 inch) with two oblong leaves (~1/4 inch wide in total) held 90 degrees from the soil. Very distinctive.

  3. I live in Gainesville and have obtained some Dalea pinnata seeds… do you advice me to plant them now in trays then transplant later on, or wait and direct sow this fall? Thank you for guidance!

    1. I would direct sow them as soon as possible. I've had very poor success growing them to any size in flats or pots. Good luck. If this was easier to grow in containers, it would be widely available in the native plant nursery trade.

  4. Hello, are the photos shown here yours? Would I be able to use them for non-commercial purposes? what license are they under?

  5. Please email me so that we can discuss this.


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