Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Leadplant

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Amorpha canescens

    COMMON NAMES: Leadplant, Leadplant Amorpha, False Indigo, Prairie Shoestring, Shoestrings

    BLOOM TIME: June, July, Aug

    Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie credit: R. Kapala


    • Shrub like plant grows to 3 ft. tall.
    • New stems are green & finely hairy, older stems turn woody.
    • Stems are 4 in. with up to 50 small leaflets, which are┬ácovered in gray hairs giving plant a lead gray color.
    • Tiny purple flowers are in a spike along the upper stem.
    • Quarter inch flower petals curl around orange stamens lending a nice┬ácolor contrast for the leaves.
    • Habitat: moist or dry prairie
    • Its deep roots make it drought tolerant.
    • This plant is an indicator of a high quality prairie.
    • Native Americans used dried leaves for smoking & tea.
    • Teas were also used externally to treat pinworms eczema.
    • Omaha Nation used dry powdered leaves & blew them into cuts & open wounds to promote scab formation.


    • Many of insects who feed on Lead Plant, especially grasshoppers, are an important source of food to insectivorous birds and other animals.
    • Deer, rabbits and livestock, are very fond of this plant.