Amorpha canescens
Image of Amorpha canescens

Photo by Susan R. Crispin 

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Key Characteristics

Small semi-woody perennial (50-100 cm) of dry openings; leaves pinnately compound, leaflets pubescent, 1-2 cm; flowers small, purple, in dense terminal spikes.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S3
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Joseph192015
Van Buren32008
Distribution map for Amorpha canescens

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Found in dry to mesic prairies and savannas, dry bluffs and hills, sandy roadsides and clearings. Most records consist of small colonies in degraded, marginal habitat.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Poverty grass, flowering spurge, needle grass, round-headed bush-clover, bracken fern, New Jersey tea, Seneca snakeroot, winged sumac, hairy phlox, naked tick-trefoil, common spiderwort, black and white oak, old-field goldenrod, big bluestem, little bluestem, Pennsylvania sedge, tower mustard, whorled milkweed, Ohio horse mint, old field balsam, hairy hawkweed, dwarf dandelion, rough blazing star, cylindrical blazing star, blue toadflax, wild lupine, horsemint, racemed milkwort, panic grass, and Venus looking glass.


The habitat of this species has been severely degraded and diminished. This species likely requires natural disturbances associated with prairie habitat such as prescribed fire and brush removal. Prevent invasive species from entering the site.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 18, 2018]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References

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