Is Lead Plant (Amorpha canescens) invasive?

ladyrose65December 29, 2012

I'm on the east coast, I am concerned this might get invasive, for I have very rich soil.

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I don't think it would be too much of a problem. It is more of a bush and it keeps to itself for the most part. Anything can become a problem if left unattended or if it isn't desired. It is a pretty cool plant and thrives in some pretty tough conditions. I have give about 100 plants in my 1 acre sand prairie and am in no way concerned of it taking over as I have grasses for it to compete with.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Thanks Nick. I have another area that is heavy clay soil. Will they survive there?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 8:28PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I think they like well draining soil. But I deal with ones that are indemic to central Texas and their might be regiona; differences.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 7:04PM
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Not here in Minnesota. I love it as it really shows nicely in the garden.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 12:05PM
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I have never heard of it being considered invasive but then in rich soil it might be aggressive depending on your point of view or available space.

We dug a some up in Kansas last fall where they were all along a country road growing in rather good sandy loam. It was difficult finding ones small enough to dig because what looked like a smaller plant had a root system connected to another one close by and what looked like different plants were actually many connected underground forming a cluster. It appeared they spread underground sending up new plants close to the original from what we could observe. Some plants were in good soil and some were on very rocky hard soil and the plants looked pretty similar in each situation.

I would not call it invasive but it would probably take up some real space eventually in the garden. I wouldn't mind that personally, they are a nice height and form and so pretty with the silver leaves and purple flowers. I only had one of the three plants I dug up make it. I had to break them off a large root to get each one away from the clump so I didn't feel too bad digging them because most of the clump is still there.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 12:03AM
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Please don't dig wildflowers in the wild. Leave them for others to enjoy. What would happen if everyone decided to do what you have done. Think about it.

Here is a page I found on the KNPS website that you might like to read.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:13PM
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They were growing along a dirt road in the backwash, there were dozens of plants, I didn't see a horde of people out there digging and do not think I ever will. We received permission from the landowner who was a teacher my sister worked with. The portion of the plant we dug out was a small part of a larger whole and I am fairly sure its still growing there, although I haven't been back to check.

I don't believe we started a new trend with the small town locals since they are mostly into planting conventional nursery plants in their gardens and don't understand why we are growing natives which they call weeds.

The landowner was actually amused that we wanted her "weeds".

Most people who grow native plants are already sensitive to this issue but thank you just the same for your objection.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 2:41PM
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Just one more note on the OP's question. It could be considered invasive, depending on your point of view and available space. The plants we ran across obviously spread by deep, woody underground roots and it appeared that a single plant could cover a large area after several years. They look like separate plants but they are not.

Based on our observations, they do not seem to seed about much since we saw no stray small plants or seedlings among the various big clumps of plants growing in the wild, all of which looked like they'd been developing there over a long time. It is a slow growing plant.

Softwood cuttings taken in spring are a good way to propagate a new plant. Hardwood cuttings are also said to be successful. Since the plants benefit in appearance by being cut back in spring which stimulates heavier bloom and thicker growth, this would probably be a better option than trying to start them from seed.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 4:45

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 2:58PM
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And as a general rule, prairie plants are adapted to survive drought...and the root systems are extensive. This makes trying to get enough of a mature plant to survive, rather difficult to impossible. That's why it would be best to collect some seeds, take some cuttings, or best of all,buy a well established plant from a reputable native plant nursery.

As a l rule, you can find small (but well established) plants quite cheaply. I might mention Missourri Wildflower Nursery for the $2.95 (I think...been a few years) 2 inch pot. Excellent for buying a number of small plants for naturalizing.

And back to the original poster, having not gardened in the NE with central natives, I can't say...but I doubt it would be an issue (opinion only of course).

This post was edited by dbarron on Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 21:56

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 9:53PM
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dbarron, I've never seen it for sale around here. The only source I found online is for seeds. I looked online for that nursery you mentioned but it seems they sell only locally, not mail-order.

Did you know, the settlers named it Lead Plant because of the roots and the loud snapping sound they made when plowing? Plowing the land has done more damage than the minority of people who like natives could ever do in wiping out the prairie plants, especially in this particular situation of having permission to dig on the side of someone's roadway on a farm way out in the country.

Wildflowergma, if you wanted to make a point rather than jumping to conclusions about digging plants in the wild, a new thread started on the subject might have been more productive.

There is a field next to our church slated for development. I've been in there with a shovel too but don't know a single other person interested in doing that. In another year, that field will be long gone. If taken to legalistic extremes, it would be considered immoral to dig a plant from there too.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 3:51

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 11:46PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Prairiemoon Nursery carries bare root Lead Plants, but is currently out of stock. I would contact them to see whether they expect to have more plants by spring. They do have seed, and also provide the bacterial inoculum these plants need for normal germination and growth.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:57AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Prairie Nursery also has it as plants and seeds.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:55AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am mostly a seed collector. I don't see anything wrong with collecting off of private land with home owners permission of a non endangered plant that reproduces from spreading roots. I do see that it is wrong to rustle plants on the roadside. I have collected plants like the frost plant, artemisia ludvovincana and ironweed from my land and friends land and it spreads the same way. I would not dream of taking a cactus out of the wild , be it on a friends land or not. The field by the church sounds like an unofficial urban rescue situation. I have been part of urban rescues and removed cactus and endangered trees in that situation. The land was slated for a large water treatment facility . I was surrounded by people in the NPSOT(Native plant Society of Texas) doing the same thing . I sleep well at night.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 1:24PM
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I do not believe the prairies are in any danger of being wiped out by "everybody" digging very common native plants of which there is no indication of extinction on private property in order to transplant them elsewhere with the intent of saving seed and reestablishing a new population. However...

Bringing in shrubs and trees and allowing the prairies to become forested to the point of no possible return to normalcy.

The legal mass killing of prairie dogs.

Planting groves of running bamboo or other notoriously invasive thugs.


Endless acres of bermuda lawns resulting in bermuda escaping into the wild, displacing plants and using ridiculous amount of chemicals and water used to sustain lawns and gardens.

Urbanization, corporate farming practices and loss of habitat.

These and other perfectly legal things I have seen or heard of are the things I do worry about.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 20:11

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 5:29PM
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