Jim Mason

Amorpha canescens


Family Bean
Longevity Perennial Shrub
Height 2 - 4 Feet

Bloom Period

March April May June July August September October
  • Description: This shrubby plant has leaves with 35-41 leaflets arranged alternately on the stem. Leaves are covered with soft hairs. Small, dark purple flowers are crowded on 2-4 inch spikes.
  • Comments:  The common name Leadplant and the species name canescens refer to the silvery-grey, lead-like appearance of the leaves. The genus name Amorpha, Greek for “deformed,” refers to the flowers that have only one petal folded around the inner flower parts. The dried leaves were used for medicine and tea by the Plains Indians. Historically, Leadplant was extremely abundant on Kansas prairies. It is one of our most important native legumes. Roots can extend more than 15 feet into the soil. Leadplant is palatable to all classes of livestock. It grows in well-drained prairie soils and is found in the eastern three-quarters of the state.





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The Meadow
Text: Iralee Barnard
Design: Jim Mason