A genus of about 165 species, herbs and shrubs, of temperate and tropical America, especially of dry habitats and most diverse in Mexico.
ID notes:In our region, Dalea may be recognized by its odd-pinnately compound leaves with 3-many leaflets, the aggregation of smallish flowers into spikes, racemes or heads, the modification of the flower to a lesser or greater degree from the standard papilionaceous "pea flower bauplan", and being mainly small to medium-sized herbs (except for three shrub species, restricted to s. FL, OK, and TX). Flowers of Dalea in our region are diverse. Dalea Type A has the corolla bilaterally symmetrical and papilionaceous, the 9-10 stamens enclosed in a keel, the wings and keel of standard papilionaceous conformation, arising laterally from the stamen column. Dalea Type B has the corolla nearly symmetrical, the petals arising laterally from the stamen column, the 9-10 stamens or staminodes exposed. Dalea Type C has the corolla nearly symmetrical, the epistemonous petals arising from the summit of the stamen column, the 5 stamens exposed.