Featherplume, Dalea formosa, is an interesting woody shrub found in the dry, rocky country of the southwestern United States. It can grow between 3 and 6 feet tall. It thrives in limestone rich soils.
The flowers of Featherplume are produced in clusters of 2 to 10 at the tips of branches. Each flower has five petals; the uppermost is a wide, banner petal usually in yellow; it is flanked by two pink wing petals and two keel petals that enclose the single stigma of its pistil and 9 or 10 stamens. In the above image, left of center, you can see a fully opened flower with its keel projecting towards the camera. The yellow banner and the 2 pink wings are visible too.
In the third image, you can see an older flower that shows several orange tipped stamens projecting from the keel.
The last image is a closeup of the compound leaves of this shrub that are pinnately compound and have 5 to 9 tiny leaflets.
Featherplume is a member of the Legume or Pea family (Fabaceae). It gets its common name from the five feathery sepals that surround the base of each flower. They can be seen in the second and third images as the feathery silver structures.
When in bloom, these remarkable plants enliven the countryside with their colorful yellow and pink flowers. Nectar feeders, especially bees, benefit from them, and they are browsed by deer and rabbits.