Deformed Whiteflower Prairie Clover

Strange, disturbed, and monstrous deformities can occur in flowerheads or flower spikes due to genetic mutations or the disruptive effects of plant viruses. I discovered these deformed Whiteflower Prairie Clover (Dalea albiflora) flower spikes in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson.

Deformed Whiteflower Prairie Clover (Dalea albiflora) flower spikes

I don't know what was wrong with these bizarre plants, but instead of a single flower spike, each stem had multiple, conjoined flower spikes grown together in strange-looking, many-tipped clumps.

Deformed Whiteflower Prairie Clover (Dalea albiflora) flower spikes

Normal, non-deformed Whiteflower Prairie Clover is very similar to White Prairie Clover (Dalea candida), but it has distinctively fuzzy stems and leaves. Both of these white-flowered Dalea species can be found here in southern Arizona.

Category:  Arizona Wild Plants