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Blue Wild Indigo Baptisia australis

 

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Blue Wild Indigo
© Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family



Description Rising 2-4 ft. high from a woody base, Blue Wild Indigo is a bushy, robust perennial. Flowers are blue-purple and pea-like, congested in dense, upright, terminal spikes, 4-16 in. long. Leaves are divided into three leaflets. In late fall the plant turns silvery-gray, sometimes breaking off at ground level and tumbling about in the wind.


Warning Other plants in this genus are poisonous if ingested, although no human fatalities have been recorded. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.


Flower April - May (in south); June - July (in north).


Flower April - May (in south); June - July (in north)


Habitat Wood edges; limestone glades; prairies.


Range Pennsylvania to s. Indiana, south to Georgia and Tennessee; introduced in New England; var. minor ranges from Iowa and se. Nebraska to Texas.


Discussion Like other members of the pea family, this plant requires the presence of microorganisms that inhabit nodules on the plant's root system and produce nitrogen compounds necessary for the plant's survival.


Comments Like other members of the pea family, this plant requires the presense of microorganisms which inhabit nodules on the plant's root system and produce nitrogen compounds necessary for the plant's survival. Soil/seed inoculum is available at most native plant nurseries.


Exposure Preference Sun.


Native Distribution Pennsylvania to s. Indiana, s. to Georgia & Tennessee; introduced in New England; var. minor ranges from Iowa & s.e. Nebraska to Texas


Site Preference Wood edges; limestone glades; prairies


Soil Preference Moist, well-drained, clays. pH 7+.


 

 

 

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