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Baptisia australis (Blue wild indigo) | NPIN
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Baptisia australis (Blue wild indigo)
Makin, Julie

Baptisia australis

Blue wild indigo, Wild blue indigo, Blue false indigo

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

USDA Symbol: baau

USDA Native Status:

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 Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Size Notes: 3 to 5 feet tall by 3 feet wide
Leaf: Blue
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul

Distribution

USA: 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

Growing Conditions

Water 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.

Benefit

Use Medicinal: 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: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Propagation

Description: 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

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
Amandas Garden - Springwater, NY
Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV
Enchanter's Garden - Hinton, WV
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Toadshade Wildflower Farm - Frenchtown, NJ
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI
Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 417 - Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America (2000) Foster, S. & J. A. Duke
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Baptisia australis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Baptisia australis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Baptisia australis

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-10-24
Research By: TWC Staff

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