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Dry and mesic prairies. Sandy open woods.
Southern MI west to MN and Saskatchewan, south to IL, MO, AR, TX, and NM.
Woody shrub to 1 m high. Leaves nearly sessile, pinnately compound, 14 to 20 pairs of leaflets up to 1.5 cm long. Flowers in spike-like racemes, clustered in groups of 5 to 20, the terminal raceme longer than the laterals; Flowers deep purple; stamens 10, exceeding the petals.
Flowers June to August
Wetland Indicator: Upland
The entire shrub is gray-tomentose, giving it a leaden appearance, hence the common name. The deep yellow-orange anthers stand out among the blue-violet petals. Native Americans used the leaves to make tea and as an additive to tobacco.
Gleason, Henry A.
and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States
and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY
Swink, F. and G.
Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.
© Michael Hough 2004