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Amorpha canescens

Amorpha canescens Pursh

Amorpha brachycarpa Palmer

Lead Plant, Leadplant

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderFabalesLegumes (pea and bean families)
FamilyFabaceaeLegume family (peas and beans)
GenusAmorphaFrom Greek amophos, “deformed,” referring to the single-petaled flower
SpeciescanescensCovered with short white or gray hairs

About plant names...

The lead plant is a North American native. The name derives from a grayish sheen on the leaves, due to abundant short dense hairs.

Identification: Plants are 12-36" (30-91 cm) tall, sometimes producing side branches; sometimes upright, sometimes sprawling. The leaves are bipinnate, composed of up to 50 leaflets each, 4-12" (10-30 cm) long overall, with leaflets about ¼" (6.3 mm) × ½" (1.3 cm). Long vertical flower spikes are covered with tiny purple flowers.

Amorpha canescens (Lead Plant, Leadplant)

Flowerhead of Amorpha canescens, Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. Photo by Jim Pisarowicz of the National Park Service.

Online References:

Amorpha canescens on Missouriplants.com

Amorpha canescens at Illinois Wildflowers

Amorpha canescens on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Amorpha canescens at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Amorpha canescens on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Amorpha canescens at Kansas Native Plants

Amorpha canescens at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Amorpha canescens at the Michigan Natural Features Inventory

Amorpha canescens at Michigan State University’s Native Plant Facts

Amorpha canescens description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Amorpha canescens (Lead Plant, Leadplant)

5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Amorpha canescens (Lead Plant, Leadplant)

5/14/2016 · By Jacquelyn Boyt

Amorpha canescens (Lead Plant, Leadplant)

5/14/2016 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA

Range: Zones 2-9:

About this map...