Amorpha ouachitensis
Common Name: Ouachita Mountain leadplant 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Oklahoma, Arkansas
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Purple with yellow anthers
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Does well in poor, sandy, somewhat dry soils. May spread by self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Amorpha ouachitensis, commonly called Ouachita mountain leadplant, is a deciduous shrub that is becoming increasingly rare because of logging operations in its natural habitat of open woodlands in the Ouachita Mountains of West Central Arkansas. This pea/bean family member is a somewhat ungainly shrub growing 3-6' tall featuring slender, dense, 4-8" spike-like clusters of tiny, purplish flowers with gold anthers which bloom in May-June. Also features alternate, pinnately compound leaves with grayish green leaflets. This plant is a candidate for inclusion on the Federal Endangered Species list.

Genus name comes from the Greek word amorphos meaning shapeless or deformed in reference to the corolla of this pea family genus lacking wings and a keel.

Specific epithet refers to the Ouachita Mountains its native range.

The genus Amorpha is often called false indigo because of its resemblance to plants of the genus Indigofera.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spots, rust, powdery mildew and canker.


This endangered plant probably can not be found in commerce. If it could be obtained, its rare status would seem to dictate utilizing it as a specimen or accent plant, even though it is a rather ordinary looking, small shrub with an attractive bloom but otherwise no particularly outstanding landscape features.