Herbs & Plants

Amorpha canescens

Botanical Name: Amorpha canescens
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Amorpha
Species:A. canescens
Order: Fabales

Common Names: Leadplant, Leadplant amorpha, Prairie shoestring

Habitat :Amorpha canescens is native to Eastern N. America – Indiana to Minnesota and Manitoba, south to Kansas and New Mexico. It grows on dry sandy prairies, hills and woodland.

Amorpha canescens is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1.5 m (5ft in). It has very small purple flowers with yellow stamens which are grouped in racemes. The compound leaves of this plant appear leaden (the reason for the common name “leadplant”) due to their dense hairiness. The roots can grow deeper than 1.2 meters (3.9 feet).


It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have 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: acid, neutral and basic (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.

Prefers a light well-drained sandy soil in sun or light shade. Tolerant of poor dry soils, plants can be invasive in rich soils. Wind resistant. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25c but it frequently dies down to ground level in the winter, resprouting from the base in the following spring. A very ornamental plant. A deep rooted plant, it thrives best in hot, droughty seasons. It only ripens its seed in fine autumns. Immune to insect pests, the plant contains its own insecticide. At one time this plant was supposed to indicate the presence of lead in the soil. 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.

Seed – presoak for 12 hours in warm water and sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 2 months at 20°c. 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. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, autumn, in a sheltered position outdoors. Takes 12 months. Suckers in spring just before new growth begins. Layering in spring

Edible Uses:… Oil; Tea……An infusion of the dried leaves makes a pleasant tasting yellow-coloured tea.

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Miscellany; Salve; Skin; Stomachic.

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.

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. Resinous pustules on the plant contain ‘amorpha’, a contact and stomachic insecticide that also acts as an insect repellent.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.