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Amorpha nana (Dwarf false indigo)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Amorpha nana

Amorpha nana Nutt.

Dwarf False Indigo, Fragrant Indigo-bush, Fragrant False Indigo, Dwarf Wild Indigo

Fabaceae (Pea Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Fragrant indigo-bush is a low-growing shrub, 1-3 ft. tall. Its finely textured, pinnately compound foliage gives a cloud-like appearance. Dense, terminal racemes of purple, pea-like flowers with showy, orange anthers are showcased against the bright-green leaflets.

The genus name, from the Greek amorphos (formless or deformed), alludes to the fact that the flower, with only a single petal (the banner or standard), is unlike the typical pea flowers of the family.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple , Violet
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


USA: CO , IA , KS , MN , ND , NE , NM , OK , SD
Canada: MB
Native Distribution: S. Man. to IA, w. to Sask. & NM
Native Habitat: Dry prairies; rocky hillsides

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Rocky or sandy soils.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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


Description: Propagation is possible by seed. Seedlings are slow-growing.
Seed Collection: Extraction of seeds from the pod is not necessary as the pods do not inhibit germination.
Seed Treatment: If seeds are stored, a 10-minute, hot water soak will improve germination. Moist stratification for three weeks at 40 degrees may also improve germination.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 26 - Minnesota Wildflowers: a field guide to the flora of Minnesota (2009)
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-11-11
Research By: TWC Staff

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