The Leadplant was first described, in 1814, by German botanist Frederick Pursh. The colloquail name, Leadplant, was given in reference to the gray appearance caused by fine hairs covering the leaves, stems, and unopened flowers.

Another belief is that it received this name because it was said that this plant was an indicator of the presence of lead ore.

The generic name Amorpha stems from the Greek word amorphos,"deformed," in reference to the absence of four of the five petals normally found on flowers of the bean family. Canescens means 'becoming gray' in botanical Latin" (Reference #1).

"The Omahas and Poncas call this plant 'te-huntonhi' (buffalo belly plant) because it was the dominant prairie plant in flower during the rutting season of the buffalo (Kindscher, 225)

Other common names: prairie shoestring and wild tea (Runkel, 49).