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Amorpha canescens Pursh


KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
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 1-3′ (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 (leadplant)

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

Online References:

Illinois Wildflowers

The USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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


The Michigan Natural Features Inventory

Michigan State University’s Native Plant Facts

Amorpha brachycarpa Palmer


Amorpha canescens description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Amorpha canescens (leadplant)

5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts · ≈ 1½ × 1′ (50 × 33 cm)

Amorpha canescens (leadplant)

7/29/2023 · By Jacquelyn Boyt

Amorpha canescens (leadplant)

5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts · ≈ 18 × 12″ (45 × 30 cm)

Range: Zones 2-9:

About this map...