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Baptisia australis (L.) R. Br. ex Ait. f.
Blue wild indigo, Wild blue indigo, Blue false indigo
Synonyms: Baptisia australis var. minor, Baptisia minor
USDA Symbol: BAAU
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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.
Like other members of the pea family, this plant requires the presence of microorganisms that inhabit nodules on the plants root system and produce nitrogen compounds necessary for the plants survival.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Size Notes:
3 to 5 feet tall by 3 feet wide Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
AL , AR , CT , DC , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , MI , MO , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , TN , TX , VA , VT , WV Native Distribution:
PA to s. IN, s. to GA & TN; introduced in New England; var. minor ranges from IA & s.e. NE to TX Native Habitat:
Wood edges; limestone glades; prairies USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(I)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, clays. Tolerates lime.
Amerindians used root tea as emetic and purpative; cold tea given to stop vomiting. Root poulticed as an anti-inflammatory. Held in mouth to treat toothaches. Toxic. Use Other:
Plant juice turns purple on exposure and is a fair substitute for true indigo in making blue dye. 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. Conspicuous Flowers:
PropagationDescription: Seeds may be sown outside in late fall or the following spring without any cold treatment. Plant 1/2 deep. Plants germinate quickly but do not flower for up to 3 years. The tough rootstock can be divided in fall or spring when the plant is dormant. T
Seed Collection: About six weeks past flowering, the pods should be black and beginning to open. Collect at this time comb the seeds from the pod. Mature, viable seeds will be brownish, hard and rounded. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
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Record Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff