This classic, silvery shrub of upland prairies is versatile and fixes nitrogen!
Soil: Mesic (Medium) – Xeric (Dry)
Sun: Full Sun – Part Sun
Height: 1-3 feet
Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Season: June – August
Suggested Uses: Lead Plant is a native prairie shrub with dark purple showy flowers and contrasting bright orange-yellow anthers. Young green pinnately compound leaves are covered with white hairs that give them a silvery appearance. This is a great pollinator plant and is important for attracting bees and butterflies. An excellent plant for prairie restoration which does well in many soil types but is particularly well suited for upland sandy or gravelly soils.
Native Range: U.S.: Native to the Great Plains and Midwestern United States. Minnesota: Native everywhere except the northwest corner of the state.
Pollinators: Excellent pollinator plant. High-value nectar source for adult Monarch Butterflies. Provides nectar and pollen for bees, moths and beetles.
Flowers: The 1/8″ flowers have only 1 petal, and 10 bright orange stamens. They bloom in tight spike-like clusters.
Leaves: The 2-4″ leaves are covered with short white hairs. They are divided into 15-45 1/2″ leaflets in a feather-like arrangement.
Other uses: Its flowers and foliage are a nice addition to wildflower bouquets.
More Info: The roots can grow over 10 feet deep. An individual plant can live for centuries. It is an indicator of a healthy prairie.
Name: The scientific name is from the Greek word “amorphos” meaning “formless” or “deformed”. According to some, it was called leadplant because it was so hard to plow, others say it was because it grew over lead deposits.
Other Names: Prairie Shoestring, Devil’s Shoestrings, Buffalo-bellow plant
More information: USDA plant profile