Lead Plant - Amorpha canescens
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Known from three historical collections from southeast Montana.
Lead Plant is a shrub with few to several, erect or ascending, simple or sparingly branched stems, which are 3-8 dm high. In marginal sites, the plant may die back to near the base each year. The alternate leaves have a short petiole and 27-41 narrowly elliptic leaflets, which are 8-15 mm long. Foliage is covered with very dense, short white hairs, giving the plant a hoary appearance. The violet flowers are borne in dense spike-like inflorescences, that are 7-15 cm long and arise on long stems from the leaf axils. Each small flower has a single petal longer than the densely hairy calyx that is ca. 2 mm long. There are 10 orange stamens exserted beyond the petal. The glandular and hairy fruits are ca. 4 mm long and egg-shaped with a long beak.
Flowering in late June-mid July; fruiting through summer.
Lead plant may be confused with members of the genera Dalea or Psoralea, but these plants are herbaceus and not shrubby like lead plant, they also have flowers with more than 1 petal.
MT to MB, south to NM, TX and IL. Collected once in Carter County ca. 70 years ago (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus pensylvanicus
and Bombus griseocollis
(Colla and Dumesh 2010).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141: 39-68.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Heidel, B.L. and H. Marriott. 1996. Sensitive plant species survey of the Ashland District, Custer National Forest, Powder River and Rosebud Counties, Montana. Unpublished report to the U.S. Forest Service. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 94 pp. plus appendices.
- Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
- Vanderhorst, J.P., S.V. Cooper, and B.L. Heidel. 1998. Botanical and vegetation survey of Carter County, Montana. Unpublished report prepared for the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena. 116 pp. + app.