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Thermopsis villosa

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: acid, rich, loam, sand

Height: 3'-5'

Bloom Time: May, June

Bloom Color: yellow

Leaf Color: green, gray-green

Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts butterflies, clumping, cottage garden plant, deer resistant, ornamental foliage

Flower of Thermopsis villosa (Aaron's rod)
  • Flower of Thermopsis villosa (Aaron's rod)
  • Flower of Thermopsis villosa (Aaron's rod)
  • Flower of Thermopsis villosa (Aaron's rod)
  • Flower of Thermopsis villosa (Aaron's rod)

Pricing & Availability


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Thermopsis villosa

Also known as:

Aaron's rod


Carolina Lupine


Carolina bush pea


bush pea



Scientific Synonyms:

Thermopsis caroliniana


A member of the Pea family, Aaron's rod produces spikes of yellow flower clusters that closely resemble those of Lupine (hence it is also known as Carolina lupine) or Baptisia. The terminal racemes can reach a height of 5'. Spent flowers will be replaced by hairy pods.


Thermopsis villosa is a beautiful species for use in a cottage garden, or in the back of a perennial flower bed where its height will provide a bright backdrop in late spring to early summer. It is best grown in rich, well drained, moist soil, and in full to part-sun. Over time, plants will form large clumps up to 3' in diameter, so it's best to give them some space. Once established, it is remarkably tolerant of dry conditions thanks to its deep tap roots. This however also makes the plants difficult to transplant. It is recommended to cut the plants back about a month after flowering, to maintain a tidy appearance and encouraging new foliage to emerge that will remain attractive well into fall. Blooms in May and June. Zones 4-8


Propagate by division in fall. To propagate from seed, it is recommended they be soaked over night before sowing. Plants started from seed may take 3 years to mature.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Fabales
Family Fabaceae Pea family
Genus Thermopsis goldenbanner
Species Thermopsis villosa Aaron's rod