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Amorpha canescens (Leadplant) | NPIN
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Amorpha canescens (Leadplant)
Flaigg, Norman G.

Amorpha canescens

Amorpha canescens Pursh

Leadplant, Leadplant amorpha, Prairie shoestring

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Amorpha brachycarpa

USDA Symbol: amca6

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

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.

The genus 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.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf: Green
Flower:
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul

Distribution

USA: AR , CO , IA , IL , IN , KS , MI , MN , MO , MT , ND , NE , NM , OK , SD , TX , WI , WY
Canada: MB , ON , 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

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Well-drained, sandy or rocky soils.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: 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: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Propagation

Description: Scarified seeds may be planted in fall or cold-damp stratified and planted in the spring. Some references say fall sown seed need not be treated. Seedlings take 4 years to reach maturity and flowering.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Scarification and stratification are necessary if seeds are stored. Scarification can be accomplished with a 10-minute hot water soak.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Evergreen privacy hedge and drought-resistant garden
July 21, 2008
I am looking for a hardy evergreen hedge for privacy in Northern Michigan. I have sandy soil. Also am interested in planting a drought garden with mostly sun in same sandy soil.
view the full question and answer

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Wildflower Farm - Coldwater, ON
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Amorpha canescens in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Amorpha canescens in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Amorpha canescens

Metadata

Record Modified: 2012-12-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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