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Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea (Longbract wild indigo)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea

Baptisia bracteata Muhl. ex Elliott var. leucophaea (Nutt.) Kartesz & Gandhi

Longbract Wild Indigo, Cream False Indigo, Plains Wild Indigo, Cream Wild Indigo, Large-bracted Wild Indigo

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Baptisia bracteata var. glabrescens, Baptisia leucophaea, Baptisia leucophaea var. glabrescens


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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. The leaves are alternate, 1 1/2-4 inches long, divided into 3 distinct segments; but the stipules are so large that they are sometimes mistaken for leaves. The velvety leaves, held in groups of five, lose their green color by late summer and change to a dark gray or black. Individual flowers are cream-colored and pea-like.

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


From the Image Gallery

18 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: AR , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MI , MN , MO , MS , NE , NJ , OK , SD , TN , TX , WI
Native Distribution: S. MI to MN & s.e. NE, s. to KY, LA & n.TX
Native Habitat: Prairies; open woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Well-drained, sandy to loamy soils.

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.


Description: Best propagated from seed. Sow unstratified seed in fall or stratified seed in spring.
Seed Collection: Collect in Aug. and Sep.
Seed Treatment: Scarification, inoculation, moist stratification for 10 days.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX


Bibref 417 - Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America (2000) Foster, S. & J. A. Duke
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea


Record Modified: 2022-11-30
Research By: TWC Staff

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