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AMORPHA canescens

Image of Amorpha canescens

James H. Schutte

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

AMORPHA canescens

Plant Common Name

False Indigo, Leadplant

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Grayish light green feathery leaves on leadplant are a nice foil for the dark purple flowers in late summer and early fall. A rounded shrub that is deciduous when winters are very harsh, it is native from the hills and prairies of southern Canada to the south central United States. It was given its common name when it was believed to be an indicator of soils containing lead.

The fragrant leaves are pinnately compound - looking like a feather with ten to twenty pairs of tiny grayish and fuzzy leaflets. Crush them for an aroma. In late summer and early fall, the fuzzy branch tips bear a cluster of slender flower spikes. The blossoms are pea-like and deep purple or dark violet with orange anthers with carry the pollen. They will be visited by butterflies and bees. In mild winter regions the foliage will be nearly evergreen.

Grow leadplant in full sun to light shade in nutrient poor, coarse or average garden soils that have good drainage. This is an excellent shrub for regions with brutally cold winters and dry soils and for hot, dry situations. Use it incorporated into the mixed border or as an accent in a meadow or rock outcropping, or in a concrete median or edge of a paved parking lot. By itself the shrub is rather mundane, but pretty when in flower.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    4'-5' / 1.2m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    North America, United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Purple

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Gray Green, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green, Gray Green, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green, Gray Green, Gray

  • Bark Color

    Gray Green, Silver

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Foundation, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No