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Wild White Indigo Baptisia alba

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
bap-TEE-sha AL-ba
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Baptisia alba commonly called white false indigo is an upright perennial herb which typically grows 2-3’ tall and occurs in dry woods from Tennessee and North Carolina to Florida.

False indigo is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Over time, plants form slowly expanding clumps with deep and extensive root systems and should not be disturbed once established. This plant is difficult to grow from seed and slow to establish. Plants take on more of a shrubby appearance and tend to open up after bloom. Trimming or shearing foliage after bloom helps maintain rounded plant appearance and obviates any need for staking--but eliminates the developing seed pods which are so attractive. 

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms: Spring/ early summer             Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer/fall

 Found in: Forest or natural areas in woodland borders and open woods; landscape in flower gardens as native, herbaceous perennials

 

 

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#butterflies#sun#yellow#poisonous#full sun#partial shade#blue#drought tolerant#cream#white flowers#showy#yellow flowers#clover leaves#native perennial#blue flowers#dried flowers#deer damage#cream flowers#blue-green#herbaceous perennial#native garden#blue-green leaves#creamy white#Monarch butterfly#pollinator plant#poor soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#butterflies#sun#yellow#poisonous#full sun#partial shade#blue#drought tolerant#cream#white flowers#showy#yellow flowers#clover leaves#native perennial#blue flowers#dried flowers#deer damage#cream flowers#blue-green#herbaceous perennial#native garden#blue-green leaves#creamy white#Monarch butterfly#pollinator plant#poor soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Baptisia
    Species:
    alba
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    southeast
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer.  It is a host plant for the Monarch butterfly.  Its flowers are attractive to butterflies and other insects.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer damage; tolerates drought and poor soils
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Spreading
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The flowers give way to inflated seed pods (to 1 3/4” long) which turn brown to black when ripe and have considerable ornamental interest. Fruit is an inflated, stalked pod with several seeds. The stems with seed pods are valued additions to dried flower arrangements.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    False indigo features small, creamy white (occasionally streaked with darker patches), pea-like flowers (to 1/2” long) in erect racemes (to 12”) atop dark, charcoal gray flower stems extending well above a foliage mound of clover-like, trifoliate, bluish-green leaves (leaflets to 2” long). It blooms in the spring. Flowers either on long-stalked clusters above the leaves or axillary. This plant blooms in white, creamy white, blue, or yellow and can be irregular and pea-shaped. The flowers give way to inflated seed pods (to 1 3/4” long) which turn brown to black when ripe and have considerable ornamental interest. The stems with seed pods are valued additions to dried flower arrangements.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    False indigo features small, creamy white flowers atop dark, charcoal gray flower stems extending well above a foliage mound of clover-like, trifoliate, bluish-green leaves (leaflets 1-2” long). This plant is a perennial herb with alternate, 3-parted leaves, turning black upon drying.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    This plant has spreading slender branches. False indigo features small, creamy white flowers atop dark, charcoal gray flower stems. The stems with seed pods are valued additions to dried flower arrangements.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    THIS PLANT CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN. Poisonous through ingestion. All parts are poisonous. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Baptisin and cytisine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems