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Prairie Shoestring Amorpha canescens

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ah-MOR-fah kan-ESS-senz
Description

The native leadplant can typically be found growing in well-drained open spaces such as sandy flats and valleys, hillsides, streambanks, woodlands, glades, and prairies.  It does best in sunny, sandy or rocky, well-drained soil.  If grown in a shady location, it will sprawl along the ground towards a more sunny area.  Its tiny purple flowers are grouped together in showy terminal spikes.  The leaves are covered with short, dense hairs.  This covering gives a gray tint to the leaves, making the plant appear as have been dusted with lead.  Thus the common name.

Its roots can reach depths up to 4 feet and sometimes deeper.  These deep roots help the plants survival during wildfires.  

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems: Although this plant has no serious disease or insect problems, there is some susceptibility to leaf spots, rust, canker, and powdery mildew.  It needs to be protected from deer, rabbits and other herbivores.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#purple#sun#deciduous#full sun#blue#violet#shrub#purple flowers#shade tolerant#blue flowers#wind tolerant#multistemmed#violet flowers#groundcover#native wildflower#poor soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#purple#sun#deciduous#full sun#blue#violet#shrub#purple flowers#shade tolerant#blue flowers#wind tolerant#multistemmed#violet flowers#groundcover#native wildflower#poor soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Amorpha
    Species:
    canescens
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    AR, CO, IA, IL, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NM, OK, SD, TX, WI, WY
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts birds and butterflies. A valuable plant for native bees. Deer and other mammals eat the fruit.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Drought, poor site conditions, poor soil
    Edibility:
    Dried leaves make a yellow-colored tea.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit does not grow in abundance.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small flowers appear along 2-6" spikes that grow at the ends of major branches. The purple-blue flowers have yellow-gold anthers (the part of the stamen that contains the pollen). They bloom from May to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The showy leaves are alternate, compound pinnate with 14 to 45 leaflets (0.3 to 1 in. long), dense, and have a grayish pubescence.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Mass Planting
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Poor Soil