Characteristics of the amorphous plant, recommendations for planting and caring for a garden plot, how to reproduce, difficulties in care, interesting notes, application, types and varieties.
Amorph (Amorpha) is classified according to the botanical classification to the extensive family of legumes (Fabaceae). The natural territories of its distribution cover the southern Canadian regions, and the plant is also found almost everywhere in the United States and northern regions of Mexico. Amorphs prefer to settle in open areas and dry ground. Based on the information in The Plant List, the genus includes about 18 species.
|Vegetation form||Shrubs or semi-shrubs|
|Breeds||Seeds or vegetatively (by dividing the bush, cuttings, root shoots)|
|Open ground transplant terms||After the soil warms up (from mid-April)|
|Landing rules||Saplings are placed at a distance of 30-50 cm from each other|
|Priming||Lightweight, breathable and permeable, sandy|
|Soil acidity values, pH||Above 7 (slightly calcareous or alkaline)|
|Illumination level||Well-lit open area|
|Humidity level||Drought tolerant|
|Special care rules||Need pruning and feeding once a year|
|Height options||1.5–4.5 m|
|Flowering period||From mid-June for about a month|
|Type of inflorescences or flowers||Racemose, spike-shaped or panicle inflorescences|
|Color of flowers||From pure white to deep purple|
|Fruit type||Single seeded bean|
|The timing of fruit ripening||Late September to early November|
|Application in landscape design||Group planting either as a tapeworm, in rockeries or rock gardens, hedge formation, slope strengthening|
|USDA zone||5 and higher|
Amorphous got its scientific name thanks to the word in Greek "amorfos", which translates as "ugly", "shapeless" or "ugly". This is because the flowers of the plant are devoid of both wings and boats, which characterizes representatives of the family with a moth-type corolla.
All types of amorphs are deciduous plants with a shrub or semi-shrub vegetation form. Usually their height varies in the range of 1, 5–4, 5 m, but these indicators directly depend on the climatic conditions of the region. The root system is characterized by sufficient branching, which helps it to keep the plant in the ground. Just like all legumes, this representative of the genus has the peculiarity of forming small tubers on the roots, through which the soil is saturated with nitrogen.
The branches of the amorph are green at first, but over time, the bark on them acquires a brown tint, and on the trunk it becomes dark gray. Branched shoots, can grow gently or rise vertically, forming a dense crown. The development of these shrubs begins rather late, from about mid-May. The foliage unfolding on the branches is arranged in the next sequence.
The complex leaf plates of the amorph, like many members of the family, are characterized by an unpaired shape. Their total length can reach 30 cm. The leaves are formed by a large number of lobes, the number of which is about 45 units, which contributes to the formation of an openwork and rather graceful crown. Leaflets are complex, whole-edged, can be attached to the main spine with petioles or be sessile.The contours of the leaflets themselves are oval or may have elongated slightly pointed ends. Each leaf lobe has a spine.
The length of the leaves reaches 4 cm with a width of about 1.5 cm. The surface of the leaf lobes of the amorph is bare or pubescent. The color of the deciduous mass, depending on this, is rich green or with an admixture of a grayish tint. When rubbing the leaf, a pleasant smell is felt in the fingers, due to the fact that the foliage is filled with essential oils.
During flowering, which begins in mid-June in amorphous, on the tops of the branches of the current year, the formation of very dense panicle, spike-shaped or racemose inflorescences, characterized by narrowed outlines, occurs. The flowering process takes 3-4 weeks. The length of the inflorescences is measured by 15 cm. The inflorescences are composed of small flowers, the petals of which vary in color from snow-white to dark purple. However, some species may have yellow or crimson flowers. Due to the presence of bracts, amorphous inflorescences always appear dark. The calyx in the flower has the shape of a bell, it consists of five shortened teeth, and they are different or the same in length. The calyx is glandular-punctate.
The corolla of the flower has a wide upper petal (sail) with a short nail. The side and lower petals, called oars and a boat, are absent in the amorphous flower, which gave the plant its name. There are five pairs of stamens in the corolla, the threads of which are spliced. The color of the stamens is yellow. The ovary in the flower is sessile; there is also a pair of ovules. When blooming, the aroma of vanilla spreads over the plantings.
After pollination occurs, the place of flowers in the amorph is taken by fruits that have the appearance of beans. The size of the fruits is short (8 cm long and about 2 cm wide), one seed is formed inside. When fully ripe, the beans do not open. Their surface is bare or pubescent, and glandular warty formations also appear on it. The shape of the seeds is elongated and kidney-shaped; they have a shiny and smooth surface. The seed is 3 mm long. The fruits may not fall off and remain until spring on the branches of the bush, adding decorativeness to the plant.
Planting and caring for amorphous, growing in the open field
- Landing place this shrub is easy to pick up. Preference should be given to an open and well-lit location, but it is desirable to provide protection from drafts, given the thermophilicity of the amorph. Despite this, the plant can easily withstand wind and frosts down to -23 degrees. The species of amorphous shrub (Amorpha fruticosa) and dwarf (Amorpha nana) are distinguished by the greatest frost resistance. Even if the shoots freeze almost to the root (for example, when grown in the territory south of the Petrograd-Novosibirsk-Khabarovsk line), by the end of August the bushes are completely restored all due to the high growth rate. At the same time, both inflorescences and beans can ripen on the form. The planting site should be thought of with all care, since the plant does not tolerate transplants, this may even cause its death. Amorphous should not be planted in places where water can stagnate from melting snow or rain, as this can provoke rotting of the root system and fungal diseases. In strong shading, there will be no flowering.
- Soil for amorphous it will not be difficult to pick up, since it can grow normally on salt marshes or sandstones. But the plant will be most comfortable on a slightly moistened substrate, but at the same time moisture should not stagnate in such a soil mixture. The acidity of the soil should be in the pH range of 7 and above, that is, choose slightly calcareous or alkaline. The soil should be light and well drained. When planting, it is still recommended to use drainage, and for nutritional value, introduce compost into the soil mixture, the friability will provide river sand in the mixture.
- Landing amorphs are carried out in the spring when the soil is fully warmed up. A seedling hole is dug out of such a size that an earthen ball that surrounds the root system fits into it. First of all, a layer of drainage is laid in the planting pit, which can be expanded clay, crushed stone or broken brick. A little soil is poured onto it to cover the drainage and then a seedling is placed on an earthen mound. It is important that the root collar of the plant is at the same level as before the transplant. After planting, you need to water and mulch the trunk circle with compost.
- Watering when caring for amorphous, moderate is performed, since the plant is characterized by drought resistance. Moistening is regularly performed only for planted plants until they adapt to a new place. During periods of extreme heat and drought, it is recommended to do 1-2 waterings per season.
- Fertilizers when growing, amorphous may not be needed, since in nature such shrubs grow on rather poor soil. If the planting was carried out in ordinary garden soil, then fertilizing is not needed at all. When the substrate on the site is depleted, then after 4–5 years, one fertilization is performed per growing season. Early spring is suitable for feeding. You can use ordinary complete mineral complexes (for example, Kemiru or Fertik) or organic agents (compost or humus), which are embedded in the ground.
- Pruning when growing amorphous is almost the only procedure that is often recommended. So it is divided into three types. The first, sanitary - when, with the arrival of spring, all shoots that have suffered during the winter, dried out, broken by wind or snow should be removed. They also save the bush from very old shoots, which will only thicken the crown. The second, rejuvenating, in which measures should be taken if the amorphous began to grow poorly or bloom. Then all branches are cut to the root, but by the end of the growing season the bush will appear in a renewed form. The third - regulating, is carried out by removing excess root shoots, to control the growth of the bush.
- Amorphous wintering. Since this shrub is particularly frost-resistant and unpretentious, it is still worth protecting the plant in case the thermometer drops below -20 degrees. All due to the fact that in such harsh winters all shoots can freeze over, and the rhizome itself will suffer. With the arrival of autumn cold weather, the soil around the bush is mulched with peat or compost, a layer of fallen dry leaves, then all the branches of the amorph are gently bent to the soil surface and covered with spruce branches or also with a thicker layer of leaves. If possible, the shelter is provided by an air-dry method.
- How to harvest an amorph. Since it is recommended to use the flowers and beans of the plant for medicinal purposes, the first to be harvested at the very beginning of flowering, the fruits must be plucked, after they acquire a light brown hue (in time it is August-September). Collect amorphous medicinal material with gloves, using a pruner. Drying of raw materials should be carried out in the open air under a canopy, spreading the collected material on a clean cloth or mat. The layer should not be thick so that shaving does not occur. If drying is carried out in special dryers, then the temperature in them is maintained at no more than 50 degrees. Raw materials are ready for storage when they become brittle. Then everything is folded into clean bags made of fabric or paper, you can use glass containers. The collected parts of the amorph can be stored for two years without losing their properties. According to some reports, the deciduous mass of the shrub is also used as a procurement material in China.
- The use of amorphous in landscape design. The plant will look great as a tapeworm or in group plantings, decorating any corner of the garden.With the help of such bushes, you can create an accent in the flower beds and flower beds (flower beds), they are also useful for decorating landscape arrays. If you want to form a hedge, then different types or varieties of amorphs are also suitable for this. Many species with different colors and shapes of leaves contribute to the creation of a textural accent, which characterizes the current trends in garden design.
Due to the branched root system, such representatives of legumes are used to strengthen slopes or to fill voids in rock gardens or rockeries. Using the dwarf amorphous shape, you can successfully form curbs. Ornamental grasses of large sizes, barberries or cinquefoil shrubs will look most advantageous next to such shrubs.
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How to reproduce amorphous?
This member of the legume family can be propagated both by seed and vegetatively. In the latter case, rooting of cuttings, separation of an overgrown bush or jigging of root shoots is carried out.
Propagation of amorphous seedsSowing seed should be carried out in nutritious and loose soil in the spring. Before sowing, it is recommended to soak the seeds in warm water for 10-12 hours if they are too dry. If the sowing master is old, then they are engaged in scarification (damage to the seed shell) by lowering it into boiling water or by another similar method. Since the seeds will germinate after sowing for a rather long time, it is possible to perform stratification before this. For this, amorphous seeds are placed on the lower shelf of the refrigerator for 2 months at a temperature of about 0-5 degrees. Germination will then be faster. Usually up to 40% of the sown seed germinates.
The soil mixture (it can be made from peat and river sand, taken in equal quantities) is poured into a seedling box, where amorphous seeds are shallowly embedded. When germinating, it is recommended to maintain heat indicators at about 20 degrees and provide increased humidity. For this, the seedling box is wrapped in a transparent plastic wrap or a piece of glass is placed on top. The container itself with crops is installed on a windowsill with diffused lighting. Care consists in regular airing and moistening the soil.
When the first shoots of the amorph appear, the shelter is removed and they continue to care for the seedlings, waiting for a pair of real leaf plates to unfold on the seedlings. This will be a signal for picking individual pots. The problem with such reproduction is that amorphous seedlings are transplanted into open ground only a year after the moment of sowing. So during this period the plants will be kept indoors.
When May comes, the cut amorphous seedlings are taken out into the air into the garden, but when a cold snap begins in the fall, they are again moved indoors. For content during the winter, you need to choose a dark and dry room with a cool temperature. Landing on a permanent place of growth is possible only with the arrival of the next April-May, when the soil is well warmed up.
Propagation of amorphous root shootsThis process should also take place in the spring. Usually, next to the adult specimen, over time, the growth of root suckers occurs, which have their own root system. Separation of the “young” must be done carefully so that the mother plant is least damaged. The roots of young plants need to be dug up and separated with a sharpened knife. After separation, all sections are sprinkled with crushed charcoal or you can take a pharmacy activated one.
ImportantTransplanting the root shoot of an amorphous should be carried out immediately to a prepared place in the garden, an intermediate transplant is destructive for it.
Until a young plant has taken root in a new place, it is recommended for it to ensure that the soil is constantly moisturized.
Propagation of amorphous by cuttingsCutting of blanks should be carried out at the beginning of summer, no later than the first decades of June. Cuttings are treated with Kornevin or another root formation stimulator and planted in pots filled with peat-sandy soil. You need to put a shelter from a glass or plastic container on top to create greenhouse conditions with high air humidity. Cultivation of amorphous cuttings as a pot culture is carried out throughout the year until the new spring. When the soil warms up, you can transplant it into the garden. This method gives almost 90% success in rooting cuttings.
Reproduction of amorphous by dividing the bushWhen the plant has grown too much, then with the arrival of spring it can be divided. This operation is similar to the jigging of root shoots. It is important that the cuttings are not too small, otherwise it will complicate the subsequent engraftment.
Difficulties in caring for amorphous in open ground
Since pests are usually not interested in this representative of the flora due to the saturation of its parts with essential oils, problems can arise purely due to violations of the rules of agricultural cultivation.
If you plant in dense shade, then the amorph stops growing and it will be unrealistic to wait for flowering. In addition, you should not land in places where moisture from rains or after melting snow cover can accumulate. When the soil is waterlogged, the plant begins to suffer from fungal diseases, among which are:
- Powdery mildew manifested in the form of a whitish bloom on the leaves, resembles a solidified lime solution. Such a "shelter" stops the access of oxygen and light, all vegetation processes are suspended, the foliage withers, turns yellow and falls off.
- Rust well distinguishable due to formations on the foliage of yellow or brownish-red color. Photosynthesis processes also stop, as the amorph begins to lose moisture and does not grow at all. Over time, the leaves fly around and the plant dies.
- Spotting, also of fungal origin, but always manifested by the formation of marks on the leaf mass of a yellow, white or brown hue, of different outlines.
For fungal diseases, amorphous bushes should be treated with fungicidal preparations, such as Fundazol, Fitosporin-M or Bordeaux liquid. However, the fungicide must respond to the disease. All affected parts should be removed before handling. If the bushes are planted in violation of the rules of agricultural technology, it is recommended to carry out an immediate transplant, combining it with the treatment with a fungicidal agent. It is better to postpone watering or carry it out in very small quantities until the plant recovers.
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Interesting notes about the amorphous flower
For the first time this plant, as a crop grown on Russian lands, was mentioned in 1796. It is this date that falls on the period when several amorphous specimens were planted in the botanical garden of St. Petersburg.
The plant delighted gardeners with its unpretentiousness and rapid spread. There is even a story that amorphous pegs were used during the construction near the city of Vinnitsa (Ukraine), which took root so quickly after being placed in the ground that after a short period of time they were able to grow, filling an area of approximately 400 hectares.
Application of the form
The plant has long been known for its qualities to people. First of all, due to the large amount of essential oils, the aroma of which is well heard if you knead amorphous leaves in your fingers, as well as the Amorpha fruticosa species, it is also actively used for medicinal purposes.This is because the plant contains a large amount of highly active substances such as flavonoids (which includes amorphine), amino acids and peptides, alcohol pinitol, which is polyatomic, and amorphrutin. Most of the flavonoids are found in beans. But the list of useful substances does not end there, there are vitamins B, K and C in the amorph, various trace elements and an indigo substance that can stain tissues.
In pharmacology, this representative of the flora is used due to the presence of just the substance of amorphine, which is capable of inhibiting the conditioned reflex activity of the body, that is, to carry out a neurotropic effect. Aformin weakens the bioelectrical activity of the cerebral cortex, while there is also a positive effect on the heart muscle, that is, a cardiotonic effect occurs.
Because of this, it is customary to use amorpha in folk medicine, when a patient suffers from tachycardia and epilepsy, there are disorders in the form of vegetative vascular dystonia, drugs based on it help to cope with neuroses and a mild degree of schizophrenia.
On the basis of plant parts, tinctures are prepared, both water and alcohol, from fruits and flowers (or separately), decoctions can be made or such a composition can be introduced into various more complex mixtures with other representatives of the flora, such as, for example, valerian, hawthorn or motherwort. It happens that the amorphous fruits are dried and ground into powder. Even official medicine uses this plant because of amorphine, based on it, making the drug "Fruticin". However, today it is practically not used, since more affordable and effective formulations have been invented.
However, when using drugs based on the form, one should remember about contraindications and possible side reactions. Among the first are:
- the child's age of the patient;
- the period of pregnancy and feeding of the child;
- individual intolerance to the active substances of amorphous patients.
Little is known about the side effects of such folk remedies today, but this is most likely due to insufficient research in this area. In any case, treatment should take place strictly under the supervision of the attending physician and without violating the dosages prescribed by him.
Due to the large amount of fragrant essential oil, amorphous does an excellent job with harmful insects as a repellent, scaring them off the site. Since the root system has good branching, planting such shrubs along ravines or embankments can strengthen their slopes.
Description of the types and varieties of amorphous
Californian amorph (Amorpha californica)represented by a deciduous shrub common in Mexican lands and in the United States. It is found in mountainous areas at an absolute height of about 1500 m. The plant with its branches is capable of stretching up to 1, 8 m. Pubescence is on the shoots, the axes of the brushes, and even on the petioles of leaf plates and veins on the back of the leaf lobes. It is a silky hair.
Leaves in length of Californian amorphous reach 9–20 cm, they are made up of 11 to 17 leaflets. The leaf lobes have an elongated elliptical shape, their length can vary in the range 2, 3–4 cm, width 1, 2–2, 2 cm. The apex of the lobes is rounded or with a small notch. There are no spikes on the leaflets. The base of leaflet lobes is broadly wedge-shaped. The color of the deciduous mass on the upper side is bright green, the reverse is slightly lighter.
When flowering in the period May-June, racemose inflorescences are formed, composed of purple small flowers. The length of the inflorescence reaches 28 cm. The calyx has ciliated pubescence, it includes teeth of a triangular shape, while the upper pair is wider, but shorter in length than the others. The upper petal (sail) is 0.5 cm long.
The fruits of the Californian amorph are beans with a curved back and a bare surface, with pinpoint glands. The length of the pod is 0.6 cm. Fruiting occurs in early autumn.
Shrub amorph (Amorpha fruticosa)has a shrub shape and loses leaves with the arrival of cold weather. The natural distribution area is in the western Canadian regions, and this species also grows almost everywhere in the United States and in northern Mexico. The plant was naturalized in Europe and took root in Asia, in areas with a temperate climate. The height of the shrub is 1–2 m, but some specimens can reach the 6-meter mark. There are many branches and they grow vertically upwards. At first, pubescence is present on their surface, which disappears as they grow older. The color of the bark is brown or dark gray. On the bark, short, whitish hairs are visible, which do not exist on old shoots.
The foliage of the amorphous shrub is odd-pinnate. The length of the leaves is about 9-17 cm, their contours are elongated-oval or elongated-elliptical. A leaf can contain 5–12 pairs of lobes, characterized by a shape that varies from narrow and broadly elliptical to ovoid or obovate. The length of the leaf lobe is 2–4 cm with a width of 0, 5–1, 8 cm. On the surface of the leaves there are punctate glands. Leaves at the top are short-pointed or rounded. They have a short spine, the base of the lobes is wide or narrowly wedge-shaped.
The color of the foliage is bright green, the shade on the back is slightly lighter. The surface of the leaves is practically bare, but ciliate pubescence is present at the edge. Amorphous shrub leaves are attached to the awns by means of petioles measuring 1.5–2 mm. The stipules are pointed at the apex; their length is 7 mm, and their width is no more than 0.5 mm.
When flowering in May-June, the bush forms racemose apical inflorescences. The racemes grow close together, their length varies from 9 to 14 cm. Peduncles are axillary and short. The length of the bracts does not go beyond the interval 0.5–1 mm, their outlines are scaly. The calyx of the amorphous shrub has a bell-shaped shape, its top is painted in a violet hue, the length is 2.5–3 mm with a width of about 2 mm. The calyx contains two pairs of obtuse teeth, as well as one pointed one. The color of the sail is reddish-purple, its length is about 4–6 mm, its width is not more than 0.4 cm, while the marigold is only 1 mm in length. The filaments of the stamens grow elongated and are crowned with yellow-colored anthers protruding above the sail.
After 25 days have passed, flowering ends, and in September, fruits begin to form, which in amorphous shrubs are shaped like beans. Their length is no more than 8–9 mm with a width of 2 mm. The fruits have a curved back, a long curved edge and a bare surface. There are 1-2 seeds inside the beans. Their shape is elongated kidney-shaped, the surface is smooth, the color is brown. In the upper part, the seeds have a fold. The length of the seeds is 3-4 mm, with a width of 1.5 mm.
Among the varieties of amorphous shrub, the following can be distinguished:
- Pendula weeping form with drooping branches;
- Albiflora has snow-white flowers;
- Lewisii amorphous shrub variety, characterized by large flowers in racemose inflorescences;
- Sourulea (Coerula) when flowering, inflorescences of a blue color are formed;
- Angustifolia the owner of narrowed foliage;
- Crispa has curly-twisted leaves;
- Emarginata forms an openwork crown of oval-shaped leaves with a notch at the top of each lobe;
- Tennessensis has a graceful shape and pubescent deciduous mass, while the beans are characterized by elongated outlines.
Amorph herb (Amorpha herbacea)distributed in North American lands. A shrub whose shoots reach 1–1.5 m. On their surface there are grooves, their color is grayish from pubescence due to small hairs. A leaf can reach 4–16 cm in length, sometimes 25 cm. It has 11–37 leaf lobes. Elliptical leaflets. Their length is 1–2.5 cm with a width of 0.8–1 cm. Both ends of the leaf lobe are rounded; a shortened spine grows at the apex.Both sides of leaflets with pubescence of small grayish hairs. The color on top of the foliage is dark green, but on the back it is grayish-green. There are glandular dots on the surface. The leaves are attached to the spine with petioles.
When flowering throughout June-July, the herbaceous amorph forms paniculate inflorescences, reaching a length of 10-30 cm. They are made up of small flowers, the color of which varies from white to purple-purple. The surface of the calyx is hairy pubescence. The upper lip has a pair of wide-triangular teeth, the lower lip has three narrow-triangular teeth. The teeth are equal in length to 1/3 of the tube itself. The corolla sail has a reverse-wedge-ovoid shape. Its length is 5 mm, there is a notch at the top.
The fruits of the herbaceous amorph are pods, in which the back is almost straight. Fruit length ranges from 4–5 mm, with a width of about 2–2.5 mm. The surface of the beans is almost bare; densely spaced dark specks of glands can be seen on it.