The bi-colored flowers of Goat's Rue are stunning. A creamy white banner sets off the rosy pink wings of this member of the pea family. Feathery compound leaves are covered in tiny hairs and give the plant a soft, silvery aspect.
It is named goat's rue because of the belief that feeding it to goats improves milk production. Other colorful names for this plant include catgut, turkey pea, and devil's shoestrings.
The roots contain rotenone, a chemical that has been used as an organic pesticide and piscicide. Goat's rue grows well in sandy, acidic soils.
Uses: Showy flowers, drought tolerant, medicinal, bees
Bloom time: May to August
Height: Up to 2 feet
Space: 1 to 2 feet
Sun: Full sun to medium shade
Moisture: Dry to average
Seed: So far, we've had good germination by cold stratification for 10 weeks. Other sources indicate that the stratification period can be reduced or eliminated by scarifying the seeds with sandpaper or pouring hot water over them and letting them soak 24 hours. Seeds retain viability for several years in dry storage. The following seeding rates will deposit about 20 seeds per square foot:
- ~200 seeds per packet
- 2,500 seeds per ounce
- 1 ounce per 125 square feet
- 1 pound per 2,000 square feet