leadplant

(Amorpha canescens)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

leadplant

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Common and abundant

Habitat

Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, open woods.

Flowering

Late June to early August

     
Flower Color

Blue to purple

     
Height

8 to 40

     

Identification

This is an erect, perennial forb that rises on multiple stems from a rhizome or a woody crown. It can be 8 to 51 tall, but is usually no more than 40 in height. The striking feature of this plant is the fine white hairs on the young stems, leaves, and calyces that give the overall appearance of a plant dusted with white lead powder.

The stems are ascending to erect and usually branched. Current year stems are gray or white near the top due to a dense covering of short, fine, white hairs, and light green and sparsely hairy or almost hairless near the base. Year-old stems are hairless or nearly hairless and become woody near the base. The bark on the woody portion is gray to brownish and somewhat rough.

The leaves are alternate, deciduous, 1½ to 4 long, ½ to 1½ wide, and are pinnately divided into 19 to 49 leaflets. The central axis of the leaf (rachis) is white due to a dense covering of short, fine, white hairs. At the base of each leaf is a pair of leaf-like appendages (stipules). The stipules are linear, purplish, and up to long. They drop off as the leaf develops.

The leaflets are arranged in alternate pairs near the base of the leaf, opposite pairs near the tip, with a single leaflet at the end of the rachis. They are egg-shaped to oblong or elliptical, to long, and to ¼ wide. They are rounded at the base and rounded at the tip, with a short, sharp, abrupt point at the tip. They have a single, prominent midvein. The upper surface is grayish-green and is densely to moderately covered with short, fine, white hairs. The lower surface is paler grayish-green and is densely covered with short, fine, white hairs. The margins are untoothed. The terminal leaflet is smaller than the lateral leaflets, tapered at the base, and squared off at the tip.

The inflorescence is a cluster of 5 to 20 spike-like, unbranched, elongated clusters (racemes) at the end of the stem and branches. Individual racemes also sometimes rise from the uppermost leaf axils. The racemes are 1½ to 6¾ long, and to wide, and are on leafless stalks (peduncles) up to 10 long. The peduncles and the central axes of the racemes are densely covered with short, fine, white hairs.

The flowers are about ¼ long. There are 5 sepals united for half their length into a 1 16 long tube (calyx) then separated into 5 lance-shaped lobes, each about 1 16 long. The calyx is densely covered with short, fine, white hairs. The corolla is a single blue to purple petal. The petal is tubular near the base, unfolded near the tip to form a protective covering over the stamens and pistil. There are 10 stamens of varied length with purple filaments and yellow to orange anthers protruding well beyond the corolla.

The fruit is a brown, densely hairy, to 3 16 long pod with a single seed. The pod matures late August to early October.

 
Similar
Species

Dwarf false indigo (Amorpha nana) is usually a shorter plant. The stems, leaves, and calyces are hairless or sparsely hairy. The leaves are bright green, not grayish-green. The inflorescence is a solitary raceme at the end of the stem, and branches, not a cluster of 5 to 20 racemes.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 24, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Fabaceae (pea)

 

Subfamily:

Faboideae (Papilionoideae)

 

Tribe:

Amorpheae

 
Synonyms

Amorpha brachycarpa

 
Common
Names

lead plant

lead-plant

leadplant

leadplant amorpha


 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

calyx

The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.

 

corolla

A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.

 

linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

peduncle

The stalk of a single flower or flower cluster.

 

pinnate

Having the leaflets of a compound leaf arranged on opposite sides of a common stalk.

 

raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

rachis

The main axis of a compound leaf, appearing as an extension of the leaf stalk; the main axis of an inflorescence.

 

rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

stipule

A small, leaf-like, scale-like, glandular, or rarely spiny appendage found at the base of a leaf stalk, usually occurring in pairs and usually dropping soon.

       

Visitor Photos

   
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Kirk Nelson


Pilot Knob

  leadplant    

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

Plant

  leadplant   leadplant
       

Inflorescence

  leadplant   leadplant
       
  leadplant   leadplant

Leaves

  leadplant   leadplant
       

Early Spring

  leadplant   leadplant
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Amorpha canescens LEADPLANT
Frank Mayfield
 
  Amorpha canescens LEADPLANT  
     
  Lead Plant
hughes411
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 19, 2008

Lead Plant

 
     

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
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Other Videos

 
  Weed of the Week #722-Leadplant (Air Date 2/5/12)
AgPhD's channel
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Feb 8, 2012

It's our Weed of the Week, Leadplant.

 
     
  Wild Foods: Leadplant
Bravo Survival
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 24, 2014

Second installment in the Wild Foods series. We discuss the Leadplant as a use in making a delicious tea.

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this plant.

Kirk Nelson
6-19-2017

Location: Pilot Knob

leadplant


     
     
 

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