Purple Prairie Clover – Dalea purpurea
Throughout the Idaho Botanical Garden you may notice certain plants covered in small metal cages made of chicken wire. Curious visitors often ask what we use these cages for, and the answer is: for protection. It really is a problem we have brought on ourselves. While human members see the staggering variety of plants we have here at the garden as a tapestry to be admired, our resident critters see a veritable smorgasbord of tasty treats. One particularly appetizing plant that needs extra protection is Purple Prairie Clover, Dalea purpurea. Without fortification, this plant would surely have succumbed to our rabbit population years ago, the young shoots being especially desirable for their high protein content. Luckily the clover has become more established over the years, and now appears to be at the point where it is not as appetizing, having woodier, thicker stems, and thus in less need of protection.
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