Flaigg, Norman G.
Amorpha canescens Pursh
Leadplant, Leadplant amorpha, Prairie shoestring
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Leadplant is a small, deciduous shrub,
1-3 ft. tall, with tiny, purple flowers grouped together in colorful, terminal spikes. Pinnately compound
leaves are covered with short, dense hairs, giving the plant a grayish appearance. This is one of the most conspicuous and characteristic shrubs of the upland prairies. The alternate
common name Prairie Shoestring probably refers to the laced-shoestring look of the leaves and roots. It has very deep roots, 4 feet (1.2 m) or deeper.
name, from the Greek amorphos (formless or deformed), alludes to the fact that the flower, with only a single petal
(the banner or standard), is unlike the typical pea flowers of the family.
Image Gallery: 14 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
AR , CO , IL , IN , IA , KS , MI , MN , MO , MT , NE , NM , ND , OK , SD , TX , WI , WY Canada: MB
, SK Native Distribution:
N. IN & s.e. MI to s. Man. & Carter Co., MT, s.w. to AR, TX & NM Native Habitat:
Well-drained prairies; rocky bluffs; open woodlands USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Well-drained, sandy or rocky soils.
Showy, Blooms ornamental, Ground cover, Attractive, Fruits ornamental Use Wildlife:
Nectar-insects, Browse, Fruit-mammals, Fruit-deer Use Food: Native
Americans used the leaves for smoking and for making a tea. Conspicuous Flowers: