A low, mounding shrub with feathery foliage, black dalea grows in dry limestone from the Trans-Pecos east to Austin and north to Oklahoma. The flowers obscure the foliage from late summer into fall; they resemble feather Dalea's purple pea-like blooms without the plumes. Like feather, silver, and Gregg Dalea (D. Formosa, D. bicolor var. argyria, and D. greggii), black dalea prefers to grow in full sun in poor, well-drained soils and resents fertilizer and overwatering.
After it becomes established, the only maintenance necessary is to shear the foliage relatively severely in the winter or early spring to keep the dense shape. It is an excellent low-maintenance ground cover, useful for erosion control on rocky slopes or in areas of reflected heat. It is cold hardy to about 15 degrees F.
Butterfly Host Plant: Reakirt's Blue (Echinargus isola)
Bloom: Summer to Fall
Light: Full sun
Zone: 8, 9
Origin: Texas, Southwest