It may not look like it at first glance, or even with a closer inspections of the flowers, but Dalea villosa is a member of the Fabaceae or pea family.
Hairy prairie clover or silky prairie clover is native to central USA and Canada’s Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The “hairy” common name seems to be used primarily in Canada, while “silky” is typical in the USA. Villosa is a reference to villose, which means “covered with long, shaggy hairs”.
Dalea villosa is a species of sandy prairies. At the southern part of its range, this habitat is relatively common in comparison to the north. This is one of the main reasons why the species has “at-risk” status of some sort in all/most of its northern jurisdictions. For example, it is considered threatened in Canada (2000 COSEWIC report (PDF)), as it can presently be found at only one site in Saskatchewan and five in Manitoba. The report is more specific about its habitat:
Interestingly, existing hairy prairie-clover sites [in Canada] provide markers for the positions of old deltas of glacial lakes formed 10,000 to 17,000 years ago. During this time, all of the modern sites of hairy prairie-clover were connected by a series of glacial lakes and
their spillways. Dalea villosa is found locally on active sand or sandhill blowouts although it also tolerates partially stabilized sandy sites. Habitat always includes some element of active sand.
The genus is named after Samuel Dale, a British apothecary, physician, and botanist. This also means the pronunciation of the genus name should be dale-a as opposed to dah-lee-a or da-lea; when a person’s name is used in a plant name, her/his name should be pronounced as-is, without modifications.