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.