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Amorpha canescens which is also known as Leadplant, Leadplant amorpha and Prairie shoestring is a deciduous shrub.

Image of Amorpha canescens plant at Google

Amorpha canescens which is also known as Leadplant, Leadplant amorpha and Prairie shoestring is a deciduous shrub. This is a true prairie plant. It belongs to the Pea family, Fabaceae.

This shrub can grow up to a height of 1–3 feet (30–90 cm) tall. It is a native of North America. This shrub bears small purple flowers that are in racemes. The plant’s leaves are compound and have hairs on them. The roots are about 4 feet (1.2m) deep.

The shrub is usually found in an area with well draining capacity of soil that are usually found in prairies, bluffs, and open woodlands. It is used medicinally and its leaves for tea and as a smoking mixture. The stems are erect and are woody below and canescent above and about 1metre tall. The leaves are alternate and about 3mm in length. The flowers are purple-violet and about 4-5mm long and bloom from May to August. These are recognizable due to its dense canescence. The foliage is grey and the fruits are small and about 5mm. These are edible.

This plant are semi erect and sprawl along the ground. The stems are light green to grayish green covered with hairs. The leaves appear as if they are dusted heavily with white lead and hence the name Lead plant.

The leaves are bipinnate and about 4-12″ long and about 50 leaflets are present. The flowers are on spikes that are 2-6″ long. The flowers are light to dark purple.

This plant is mostly found in Illionois. The roots are very strong and hence can be recovered from fire too.

The flowers of Leadplant attract long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, and wasps as bumblebees, Leaf-Cutting bees (Megachile spp.), Green Metallic bees, and Plasterer bees (Colletes spp.); the Andrenid bee, Andrena quintilis. The caterpillars of Colias cesonia (Dogface Sulfur) eat the foliage and grasshoppers, caterpillars of moths, various beetles, the plant bug Psallus amorphae, and the leafhopper Scaphytopius cinereus are other insects that feed on this plant. Herbivores like deer, rabbits, and livestock also feed on this plant as it is high in protein.

Growing/Caring conditions of Amorpha canescens:
– This plant prefers dry and sandy soils.
– Avoid wet clay type soil.
– Pruning should be done annually in late fall season.
– This helps to increase flowers growth.
– The USDA zones needed are 4-8.
– This plant needs light and a well drained soil.
– This plant needs light shade.
– This plant can tolerate temperatures down to about -25c.
– This plant has its own insecticide and hence is immune to insect pests.
– Pre-soak the seeds for 12 hours in warm water.
– Sow these seeds in early spring.
– The seeds germinate in about 1-2 days.
– The germination temperature is 20°c.
– Transplant the seedlings individually in late spring or early summer when last expected frost is passed.
– Protect young plants from rabbits and other herbivores.

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