LEAD PLANT
File Size: 109 KB
 
Amorpha canescens  Pursh
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Shrubs
Height: 1-3 feet
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August
Stems: Erect or ascending, 1 to several, usually branched, usually densely covered with silver-gray hairs.
Leaves: Alternate, odd-pinnately compound, 2 to 4 inches long, .5 to 1.5 inch wide; leaflets 11-49, oblong or oval, .5 to .75 inch long, grayish-woolly; margins entire; tips blunt, rounded, or notched.
Inflorescences: Racemes, in axils of upper leaves, densely flowered, 1-10 inches long.
Flowers: Small; calyx 5-lobed, densely hairy; corolla deep blue to violet; petal 1, broadly circular or heart-shaped, curving inward; stamens 10, orange-tipped, extending beyond petals.
Fruits: Pods, small, fuzzy; seeds 1, smooth, brown.
Habitat: Dry prairies, hillsides, roadsides, and open woodlands.
Distribution: East 4/5 of Kansas.
Forage Value: It is palatable to livestock and is an important range condition indicator.
Uses: Native Americans used the dried leaves to make a tea and for pipe smoking.
Comments: This bushy shrub is one of the most important native legumes of the prairie. Its roots can descend as much as 16 feet. The common name "lead plant" is due to the silvery-gray hairs that give the foliage a lead color.

Lead plant
84 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Lead plant inflorescence
105 KB
Lincoln County, Kansas
Lead plant flowers
104 KB
Lincoln County, Kansas
Lead plant inflorescence
74 KB
Douglas County, Kansas
Lead plant leaf
78 KB
Douglas County, Kansas
Lead plant
78 KB
Douglas County, Kansas
Lead plant
94 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Lead plant leaf
78 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Lead plant
78 KB
Woodson County, Kansas
Lead plant
119 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas