Index- plants in this Family
Fabaceae / Pea
Goat's Rue (Tephrosia virginiana)
Goat's Rue is also known as Virginia Tephrosia, Rabbit's Pea, Hoary-Pea, Devil's Shoestrings and Catgut.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 70cm in height (28inches). Most of the plant is covered with short downy hairs.
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Each leaf is divided into fifteen to twentyfive leaflets each leaflet to 3cm (1.2") long.
Flowers: The flowers are irregular in shape . They are whitish or light yellow with a pink keel. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue into mid summer.
Habitat: Woods and meadows with well drained soil
Range: Most of eastern and central U. S. except extreme northeast.

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

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Tephros means ash colored or hoary in Greek and refers to the downy hairs that cover the plant.

Contains small quantities of the insecticide and fish poison rotenone.

Lore: This and related species may have been used as a fish poison by natives in some parts of the Americas. Cherokee women used a root decoction to strengthen hair and Cherokee ball players applied the decoction to their limbs to "toughen" them . It was given it to children as a tea to make them strong. It was used by the Cherokee and other tribes in various medicines for treating conditions ranging from worms to urinary problems and tuberculosis.(Hamel/Chiltoskey) (Foster & Duke) (Rickett)

Medical Uses: There seems to be little scientific data to support medical uses however the plant may contain cancer fighting chemicals as well as carcinogenic substances. Warning: Plant may irritate the skin and the seeds may be toxic. (Foster & Duke)

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Goat's Rue (Tephrosia virginiana) - leaf detail  © Daniel Reed

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



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