Tephrosia virginiana
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Tephrosia virginiana Goat's Rue

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Goat's Rue is an eye-catching plant of dry upland, often sandy or acidic prairies and gravel deposits near several of the major US rivers.  The late-spring to early-summer blooms are like no other prairie plant; the dense clusters of flowers are at the top of the stems with a pale yellow upper petal and two smaller fuschia lower petals.

This legume's seeds form among attractive feather-like, greenish-gray leaves in late summer. Distinctive hairy, flat 2"-long pods cover the plant, making identification easy. Choose a dry, moderately sunny spot wisely because, once established, Goat's Rue does not divide and does not like to be moved. 

In past traditions, Goat's Rue was used to treat ailments such as tuberculosis, rheumatism and bladder problems. The plant also is being studied in cancer research. This perennial has a deep taproot that eventually branches into fibrous roots.

Other common names include Catgut, Devil's Shoestrings, Hoary Pea, Wild Sweetpea, North American Turkey Pea, and Virginia tephrosia.

This is a legume species (member of the pea family).  Most legumes harbor beneficial bacteria called rhizobia on their roots.  Prairie Moon provides genus-specific strains of this bacterium called inoculum for legume seed free of charge with the purchase of legume seed.  To properly inoculate your legume seed prior to planting, follow germination code I as described on the right.
Tephrosia virginiana - Goat's Rue

BONAP Map Key

This map shows the native and adventive range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

Seed:

Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, download Seed Starting Basics.

Bare Roots:

We dig bare-root plants from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants:

Trays (38 plants) leave our Midwest greenhouse based on species readiness (well-rooted for transit) and based on order date; shipping begins early-May and goes into June. Each of the 38 plant cells are 2” wide at top x 5” deep; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting instructions/care are included with each order.

Download: Tips on Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*please note, we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to *MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges
SEED$100.00 and under: $5.00
over $100.00: 5% of the total seed cost

*MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders shipping to Minnesota only. Shipping & Handling Charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within a day or two upon receipt.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS outside the contiguous US or to California due to regulations.

Delivery

We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee.

FOR MORE DETAILED SHIPPING INFORMATION, INCLUDING CANADA SHIPPING RATES (SEED ONLY), PLEASE SEE 'SHIPPING' AT THE FOOTER OF THIS WEBSITE.

iDetails

Seeds/Packet
60
Seeds/Ounce
2,500
Germination Code
C(10)     H     I
Sun Exposure
Full to Partial
Soil Moisture
Medium to Dry
Height
12 inches
Bloom Time
June, July
Bloom Color
Pink, Yellow
USDA Zones
4-9
Plant Spacing
1-2'
Catalog Number
TEP02F