Leadplant, Amorpha canascens
Leadplant (Amorpha canascens) is a member of the Bean family (Fabaceae) that can be identified by its many purple flowers, each with protruding yellow stamens, arranged on several flowering stalks. Each Leadplant leaf is composed of dozens of small leaflets approximately one-half inch long and one-quarter inch wide that often appear to be covered in white, powdery lead. Though this species grows to be only 1 to 3 feet tall, its central root may penetrate 15 feet below the surface of the ground. The plant’s formidable root system made plowing an arduous task prompting early settlers to nickname Leadplant “devil’s shoestrings.” Leadplant is pollinated primarily by bees and wasps and is a source of food for grasshoppers, beetles, and some mammalian herbivores. This species blooms from mid- to late-summer.