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False Indigo Baptisia australis

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called False Indigo:

Phonetic Spelling
bap-TEE-sha aw-STRAL-iss
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Baptisia australis, commonly called blue false indigo, is an upright perennial which typically grows 3-4' tall and occurs in rich woods, thickets and along streambanks from Pennsylvania south to North Carolina and Tennessee.   

Where to Plant: It grows best in full sun to part shade but tends to get a little floppy when it doesn’t get a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight. It forms tall clumps which are especially attractive planted next to wooden fences. The bright, indigo blue flowers are attractive when combined with yellow or white flowering perennials. Wild Blue Indigo is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. However, it does best in full sun. Over time, plants develop slowly expanding clumps with deep and extensive root systems and should not be disturbed once established. They may be grown from seed but takes several years to yellow-flowered.

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

Another plant option: B. tinctoria, a yellow-flowered species of Baptisia, is also native to the eastern USA and grows well in warm, sunny gardens.

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms: Spring             Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer

Pruning Tips: 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 a possible need for staking, but eliminates the developing seed pods which are so attractive.

Propagation Tips: Seed sown when fresh in mid-summer. The best way to propagate this plant is to collect seeds in late summer as soon as they mature and sow them directly where you want them to grow. Cuttings taken in April or May will also root fairly easily if they are taken while the growth is still soft.  

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Taller plants may need support, particularly when grown in part shade locations.

 

 

 

Cultivars:
Tags:
#native#purple#butterflies#sun#deciduous#pollinators#full sun#partial shade#blue#drought tolerant#spring#perennial#herbs#wildflowers#showy#dried flowers#poor soils#highly beneficial coastal plants#deer damage#dye plant#Wild Indigo Duskywing butterfly#Hoary edge#Orange sulphur#Eastern tailed blue#Frosted elfin#Clouded sulphur
Cultivars:
Tags:
#native#purple#butterflies#sun#deciduous#pollinators#full sun#partial shade#blue#drought tolerant#spring#perennial#herbs#wildflowers#showy#dried flowers#poor soils#highly beneficial coastal plants#deer damage#dye plant#Wild Indigo Duskywing butterfly#Hoary edge#Orange sulphur#Eastern tailed blue#Frosted elfin#Clouded sulphur
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Baptisia
    Species:
    australis
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Seeds rattle around in the blackened pods which were once popularly used by children as rattles. The beautiful blue flowers have been used to make a blue dye comparable to the dye made from the flowers of indigo.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern United States
    Distribution:
    PA south to NC and TN
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer. It is a host plant for the Wild Indigo Duskywing butterfly.  Its flowers are attractive to butterflies, bees, and other insects. This plant is also a larval host plant for a variety of butterflies including: Orange sulphur, Clouded sulphur, Frosted elfin, Eastern tailed blue, Hoary edge, and Wild indigo duskywing.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought, poor soil, highly resistant to deer damage;
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
  • 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
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Flowers give way to inflated seed pods (to 2.5" long) which turn charcoal black when ripe and have considerable ornamental interest in the late summer. Fruit is an inflated, stalked pod with several seeds. Stems with seed pods are valued additions to dried flower arrangements.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Spike
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Irregular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Wild Blue Indigo features purple/blue, lupine-like .75-in. flowers in erect racemes (to 12") atop flower spikes extending well above a foliage. Flowers are either on long-stalked clusters above the leaves or axillary. They bloom in white, blue, purple/blue, or yellow and are irregular and pea-shaped.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    The Wild Blue Indigo features a mound of clover-like, trifoliate, bluish-green leaves (leaflets to 2" long). The alternate leaves have a smooth margin (entire). This perennial herb has 3-parted leaves, turning black upon drying.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems with seed pods are valued additions to dried flower arrangements.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Poisonous
  • Poison:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    THIS PLANT CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN. Poisonous through ingestion. All parts are poisonous. Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Baptisin and cytisine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems