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Wild Indigo Baptisia tinctoria

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Wild Indigo:

Phonetic Spelling
bap-TEE-sha tink-TOE-ree-ah
Description

Baptisia tinctoria commonly called wild indigo or yellow wild indigo is an upright, smooth, shrubby perennial which typically grows 2-3' tall and occurs in open woods and fields from Maine to Florida and west to Minnesota. Wild indigo is a low maintenance herbaceous perennial in the Fabaceae family. 

Latin Name & Common Names: The seeds rattle around in the pods when ripe, thus giving rise to the sometimes common name of rattleweed for this species. The specific epithet comes from the Latin word for dye, and this plant was used by early Americans as a poor substitute for true indigo (genus Indigofera) in making dyes. It was used by early Americans as a substitute, albeit an inferior one, for true indigo (genus Indigofera) in making dyes.

Propagation and Pruning tips: It 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. Light trimming or shearing of foliage after bloom helps to maintain a rounded plant appearance and obviates any need for support, but eliminates the developing seed pods. 

Where to Plant: Plant in a woodland, cottage, native, or meadow garden as a specimen or in small groups. Its flowers are not as showy as some other members of the Baptisia genus so it is not always the best choice for a front and center placement in the garden. This plant is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade, but it does  best in full sun. Over time, plants form slowly expanding clumps with deep and extensive root systems, and it should not be disturbed once established.

Fire Risk: This plant has a medium flammability rating. 

Seasons of Interest:

    Bloom: Late spring-Early summer, May-June     Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer/Fall

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#butterflies#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#full sun#partial shade#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#showy#yellow flowers#native perennial#nectar plant#low maintenance#host plant#fall interest#cottage garden#meadow#erosion control#fire#medium flammability#NC native#dry soil tolerant#deer damage#part shade#native garden#Wild Indigo Duskywing butterfly#erosion#woodland#fall fruits#native wildflower#late spring flowers#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#early summer flowers#NC Native Pollinator Plant#butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#butterflies#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#full sun#partial shade#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#showy#yellow flowers#native perennial#nectar plant#low maintenance#host plant#fall interest#cottage garden#meadow#erosion control#fire#medium flammability#NC native#dry soil tolerant#deer damage#part shade#native garden#Wild Indigo Duskywing butterfly#erosion#woodland#fall fruits#native wildflower#late spring flowers#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#early summer flowers#NC Native Pollinator Plant#butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Baptisia
    Species:
    tinctoria
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    This plant was used by early Americans as a substitute, albeit an inferior one, for true indigo (genus Indigofera) in making dyes.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South Eastern Canada to North Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a host plant for the Wild Indigo Duskywing butterfly. Flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer damage, drought, poor and dry soils, and works well when planted to manage erosion
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • 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
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    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:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    The flowers give way to small inflated seed pods which turn black when ripe and have some ornamental interest. The seeds rattle around in the pods when ripe, thus giving rise to the sometimes common name of rattleweed for this species. Late summer and fall.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Wild Indigo features small, bright yellow to cream, pea-like flowers (to 1/2" long) in numerous, sparsely-flowered clusters (terminal racemes to 4-5") on stems extending above a foliage mound of stalkless, clover-like, trifoliate, gray-green leaves (leaflets to 1" long). It blooms in late spring to early summer. The flowers give way to small inflated seed pods which turn black when ripe and have some ornamental interest.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Wild Indigo features small flowers on stems extending above a foliage mound of stalkless, clover-like, trifoliate, gray-green leaves (leaflets to 1" long).
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Erosion
    Poor Soil