Lead Plant (Amorpha canescens)

Lead Plant (Amorpha canescens)
Lead Plant

Lead Plant

Lead Plant (Amorpha canescens) is a native perennial that grows between 1-3' tall. It often has several stems growing from the base which may be simple or branched. The name Lead Plant comes from the dense covering of fine hairs around the calyx tube which gives an impression of the plant being covered in white lead. Lead Plant generally grows semi-erect, however in shady areas it will travel along the ground towards more intense light. The stems of the Lead Plant are tomentose (covered in white hairs) when immature, but become glabarate (loose the hairs) when mature. As Lead Plant ages it becomes increasingly woody unless its growth is interrupted by fire or browsing animals. The leaves of the Lead Plant are bipinnate, occuring in pairs of 13-20 or more plus one. They are ovate to elliptical in shape and around 4½" long and whitish to greenish grey in color depending on their exposure to direct sunlight. Lead Plant blooms for about 3 weeks during early to mid summer. The flowers are numerous, small, scent free and vary in color from a light to darkish purple. The flowers also have highly visible, reddish colored stamens with bright yellow anthers. However, this plant may take 3 years before it produces any flowers.

Lead Plant - Amorpha canescens - Distribution

Lead Plant is well adapted to grow in full sunlight on prairies and open woodlands. While it is capable of growing in a variety of soils it has a preference for soils with an average to dry moisture content. It will also do will in clays and loams and sandy, gravelly soil types. Lead Plant is a popular food source for many herbivores including livestock, deer rabbits etc, due to its high protein content. As such, it can be difficult to establish Lead Plant in areas where animals of this type are found unless protection can be provided. Lead Plant will also decrease with grazing and is absent from overgrazed prairie. Leadplant. Photo by Mary Lata, U.S. Forest Service. [TABLE=55]
Lead Plant at a Glance
TypeLightSeed DepthSeed SpacingPlant Height
PerennialFull Sun1/8"1"24-36"
Seeds per Pound 277 000Seeding Rate 4 oz per 1,000 sq ft

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