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Tephrosia virginiana is often confused with:
Amorpha canescens flower and leaves
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Verbena canadensis Verbena canadensis
Viola sororia Viola papilionacea
Viola pubescens Form

Catgut Tephrosia virginiana

Previously known as:

  • Cracca latidens
  • Cracca viginiana
  • Tephrosia latidens
  • Tephrosia virginiana var. glabra
  • Tephrosia virginiana var. holosericea
Phonetic Spelling
tef-ROH-see-uh vir-jin-ee-AN-uh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The common names tell its history.  Goat's Rue was fed to goats to increase milk production.  It is no longer used as a feed for goats due to it containing rotenone which is now used as a pesticide.  It is also used as fish poison, which is produced by pounding the roots.   Another common name, Devil's Shoestring, refers to its long stringy roots.

This member of the pea family has upright to sprawling stems. It is native to dry, open woods, and best grown from seed as  its deep root system makes dividing and transplanting rarely successful.  

The flowers resemble bi-colored sweet pea, lemon-yellow to rose.  Its upper petals and pale yellow, while the lower petals are pink.  It begins to bloom in the spring and continues into the summer.  After the flowers have bloomed, seed pods are formed.  They can reach lengths of 3".

Growing this plant will add nitrogen to your soil.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Toxic to insects and fish.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#perennials#wildlife plant#pink flowers#moths#native perennials#bicolor#perennial flowers#summer flowers#deer resistant#native garden#spring interest#wildflower garden#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#food source summer#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#pollinator garden#Audubon#southern cloudywing butterfly#northern cloudywing butterfly#native#wildflower
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#perennials#wildlife plant#pink flowers#moths#native perennials#bicolor#perennial flowers#summer flowers#deer resistant#native garden#spring interest#wildflower garden#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#food source summer#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#pollinator garden#Audubon#southern cloudywing butterfly#northern cloudywing butterfly#native#wildflower
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tephrosia
    Species:
    virginiana
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Us and Canada
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, KA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, BC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant supports Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus) larvae, which has two broods (possibly three) from June-early October, and Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades) larvae, which broods a little earlier than May-July. The adults of these butterflies feed on the nectar of blue, purple, pink, or white flowers from a variety of species. Attracts butterflies, bees, and birds.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Shade
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Edibility:
    Not edible
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    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:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The seedpods replace the flowers. Starting out green, they will turn brown. Displays from July to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The 0.75 in. flowers have a yellow standard petal often flushed with pink and a rose-pink keel. They bloom in clusters from May to June.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The green/gray-green leaves have 8 to 15 pairs of leaflets. They are covered with soft white hairs that give them a silvery tone. The underside has more hair than the upper leaf.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Like the foliage, the upright, sprawling stems are covered with soft white hairs that give them a silvery tone.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Insect Pests
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    toxic to insects and fish
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Tephrosin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Roots
    Stems