Goat's Rue
(Catgut, Devil’s Shoestring, Rabbit's Pea, Virginia Goat's Rue and Hoary Pea)
Tephrosia virginiana - (Linnaeus) Persoon
Fabaceae (Pea) Family

Plant is an upright, hairy perennial. Preferred habitat is on prairies, rocky roadsides, glades and woods. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound (leaflets appearing on both sides of the leaf stalk to form a whole); widest at the center to oblong and bearing no teeth or lobes.

Flowers are in leaf axil terminal clusters; five petals with banner cream colored or white. Keel and wings are pink to rose. Flowers occur in the spring.

Fruit is a bean pod.

Goat’s Rue is a silver-leaf plant. Its roots are long and stringy, to which one of its names refers, Shoestring. It was once fed to goats to increase milk production but when it was discovered that the plant contains an insecticide and fish poison (rotenone) the practice was discontinued. There is a variety on the Coastal Plain that has only white flowers but that species is outside this region.

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