Amorpha canescens - Leadplant

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Butterfly Friendly

Amorpha canescens 

Amorpha canescens is a small shrubby plant that is graced with long spikes of clear purple flowers from July to September. Its long bloom time and attractiveness to butterflies make Leadplant a great native substitute for Butterfly Bush (Buddleia).

  • Easy to grow
  • Likes barren soils
  • Drought tolerant

Native Range

Amorpha canescens is found in open prairies and meadows in the middle of North America, from the Rockies to the Mississippi. USDA Distribution Map

Mammalian herbivores, such as deer, rabbits, and livestock, are very fond of this plant. It is high in protein and quite palatable. This can make Leadplant difficult to establish in areas where these animals are abundant. Prairie Wildflowers of Illinois The common name Leadplant comes from the mistaken belief that Amorpha canescens indicated the presence of lead in the surrounding soil.



Plant Amorpha canescens in full sun and average to dry soil. Water regularly until established. Leadplant is very drought tolerant with the help of a deep taproot that can reach many feet down for water. Because of this root, it is difficult to transplant successfully.


Mature Size: 30-36in. Tall x 24-30in. Wide

Hardiness Zone: 2-9

Sun Exposure: Full sun

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