This well-behaved shrub gets a rather late start in the spring. Its gray-green pinnate leaves are followed by striking purple flowers with prominent orange anthers that are loved by bees. Pruning the shrub in the late winter or early spring, either back to the ground or to 12” or so, helps maintain its shape. Like other members of the pea family, this one has a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. The plant provides a home for the bacteria within its root nodules, and the bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen into organic forms of nitrogen accessible to plants (a.k.a. fertilizer).
Water needs: low
Exposure: full sun
Availability in nurseries: uncommon
Native range: Midwest and Great Plains, as far west as eastern WY
Plant family: Fabaceae