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Amorpha canescens - Pursh.

Common Name Lead Plant
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 2-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry sandy prairies, hills and woodland[43, 200].
Range Eastern N. America - Indiana to Minnesota and Manitoba, south to Kansas and New Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Amorpha canescens Lead Plant


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Amorpha canescens Lead Plant
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Amorpha canescens is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1.5 m (5ft in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 2. It is in flower from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil
Edible Uses: Oil  Tea

An infusion of the dried leaves makes a pleasant tasting yellow-coloured tea[161, 177, 183, 257].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Anthelmintic  Eczema  Miscellany  Salve  Skin  Stomachic

An infusion of the leaves has been used to kill pinworms or any intestinal worms[257]. The infusion is also used to treat eczema, the report does not say it if is used internally or externally[257]. The dried and powdered leaves are applied as a salve to cuts and open wounds[257]. A decoction of the root is used to treat stomach pains[257]. A moxa of the twigs has been used in the treatment of neuralgia and rheumatism[257].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Insecticide  Miscellany  Oil  Repellent  Shelterbelt  Soil stabilization

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[200]. Resinous pustules on the plant contain 'amorpha', a contact and stomachic insecticide that also acts as an insect repellent[57, 200].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a light well-drained sandy soil in sun or light shade[1, 200]. Tolerant of poor dry soils, plants can be invasive in rich soils[200]. Wind resistant[200]. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25c[184, 200] but it frequently dies down to ground level in the winter, resprouting from the base in the following spring[182]. A very ornamental plant[1]. A deep rooted plant, it thrives best in hot, droughty seasons[11]. It only ripens its seed in fine autumns[11]. Immune to insect pests, the plant contains its own insecticide[200]. At one time this plant was supposed to indicate the presence of lead in the soil[182]. There is some confusion over the correct author of the Latin name of this plant. It is probably Pursh. as stated on the top of this sheet, but some books cite Nutt. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 8 through 1. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is multistemmed with multiple stems from the crown [1-2]. The root pattern is a tap root similar to a carrot going directly down [1-2]. The root pattern is suckering with new plants from underground runners away from the plant [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Propagation

Seed - presoak for 12 hours in warm water and sow early spring in a greenhouse[78, 133]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 2 months at 20°c[133]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June/July in a frame. High percentage[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, autumn, in a sheltered position outdoors. Takes 12 months[78]. Suckers in spring just before new growth begins[200]. Layering in spring .

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Amorpha fruticosaFalse Indigo, False indigo bushShrub4.5 4-8 MLMSNDM123
Amorpha nanaDwarf Indigobush, Dwarf false indigo, Dwarf IndigoShrub0.6 4-8 MLMSNDM012
Sasamorpha borealis Bamboo3.0 6-9  LMHSM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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