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Cream False Indigo Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea (Baptisia leucophaea)

 

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Cream False Indigo
© Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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Alternate name: Plains Wild Indigo

Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family



Description Cream False Indigo is an exquisite perennial, 1-2 ft. tall with a wide, bushy habit. The branches cascade under the weight of the sometimes foot-long flower spikes. Individual flowers are cream-colored and pea-like. The velvety leaves, held in groups of five, lose their green color by late summer and change to a dark gray or black.


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 March - April (in south); June (in north).


Flower March - April (in south); June (in north)


Habitat Prairies; open woods.


Range S. Michigan to Minnesota and se. Nebraska, south to Kentucky, Louisiana, and n. Texas.


Discussion This species can be damaged by wind and it needs support from companion plants. Seedlings are slow to mature, taking up to first years to bloom. Flowers are showier on dry sites.


Comments This species can be damaged by wind and it needs support from companion plants. Seedlings are slow to mature, taking up to first years to bloom. Flowers are more showy on dry sites. 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 to partial sun.


Native Distribution S. Michigan to Minnesota & s.e. Nebraska, s. to Kentucky, Louisiana & n.Texas


Site Preference Prairies; open woods


Soil Preference Well-drained, sandy to loamy soils.


 

 

 

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