Fab Foliage Friday

The Missouri Botanical Garden's most excellent website has this to say about lead plant: "Somewhat ungainly...somewhat ordinary looking...with an attractive bloom but otherwise with no particularly outstanding landscape features." Excuse me? I find lead plant (Amorhpa canescens) a stellar foliage plant in the right circumstances. Its tiny silvery leaves, arranged on fernlike branches, are just the ticket for introducing a most appealing and delicate texture into beds and borders. A sun loving, bone hardy (USDA Hardiness Zones 2-9) shrublet, this plant should appeal even to native plant purists--at least those who define a native plants as one from the same contintent (for me a native plant is one found anywhere on planet Earth)-as it can be found growing in the wild throughout a very broad swath of the midwest.

This serious breach in taste regarding lead plant aside, the Missouri Botanical Garden (Mobot) is a superlative resource for quickly researching the design and horticultural characteristics for any garden plant I wish to know more about. I go straight to their Plantfinder, and hunt it down. Actually, the fastest way is to Google the plant's name and enter "mobot" in the searchbox too.

One last thing: yes, Fab Foliage Friday is all about foliage. Really. But since Mobot says that basically the only worthwhile part of lead plant are its flowers, I though I'd better include a shot of them as well. The bllooms are indeed striking in their purple and orange raiment. My plant is covered in these beauteous spires at this very moment--and the butterflies like them almost as much as I do.


Carol said...

I had tried to leave a comment on this post but due to my hard drive crash my new hard drive was not welcome at yours or others comment pages?? Hope this works. I love this wild roboust plant... looks like it will get along with all my other free roamers. I agree it is not so common but really quite handsome. Love the wild feeling and stately structure.

Steve Silk said...

Carol--I saw on your site your hard drive crash. Yikes! What a pain. Hope you manange to recover most everything. As someone who is incredibly lax about doing backups...the first thing I did after reading your post was make some backups.