Leadplant (Amorpha Canescens), A shrubby perennial, often as an undergrowth of Big Bluestem, Leadplant reaches 3 feet. Stems become large (1/2 inch) and woody with age; compound leaves with numerous small leaflets arranged in opposite pairs. Entire plant is hairy, giving a whitish appearance. Tiny purple flowers in a spiked mass along the upper 2 to 7 inches of the stem; single petal with no wings or keel, conspicuous yellow stamens. Found on dry, rocky soils throughout the tallgrass prairie regions and in open, rocky woodlands; blooms from late May through August.
Fabaceae family - Leadplant, Prairie Shoestring, Wild Tea
Amorpha from the Greek Amorphos meaning "without shape" which refers to the flower having only one petal and from the Latin meaning "gray hairy".
|Sun Exposure||Savanna, Prairie|
|Soil Moisture||Mesic, Dry Mesic, Dry|
|Bloom Time||Late Spring, Summer
May, June, July, August
|Max. Height||3 Feet|
|Germ Code||C(10), I, J|
|Seeds Per Packet||150|
|Seeds Per Ounce||16,000|
The dried leaves of this species were used by Native Americans for smoking and as a tea; tea was also used as a treatment for pinworms. Fresh leaves were steeped and the liquid was used for a wash to treat eczema. Used as part of a poultice to treat rheumatism and neuralgia.
An infusion of the dried leaves makes a pleasant tasting yellow-coloured tea.
An infusion of the leaves has been used to kill pinworms or any intestinal worms. The infusion is also used to treat eczema, the report does not say it if is used internally or externally. The dried and powdered leaves are applied as a salve to cuts and open wounds. A decoction of the root is used to treat stomach pains. A moxa of the twigs has been used in the treatment of neuralgia and rheumatism.
Plants have an extensive root system, they tolerate poor dry soils and are also wind resistant, they are used as a windbreak and also to prevent soil erosion. Resinous pustules on the plant contain 'amorpha', a contact and stomachic insecticide that also acts as an insect repellent.