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Baptisia Baptisia

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
bap-TEE-zee-uh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Baptisia is a genus consisting of erect, native, herbaceous perennials in the Fabaceae (bean) family. The name is derived from Greek baptisis, which means to dip or immerse. Its native habitat is woodland borders and open woods.

It will grow in partial shade to full sun. It is known for being a tough, long-lived plant that tolerates a variety of conditions from drought, poor soil, dry soil, and erosion. False indigo may be propagated by cuttings or seeds. The attractive flowers that appear in the spring are typically deep blue, but they can range in colors from pink to yellow to white.  They contrast nicely against light green leaves.  The fruit is a black, inflated, stalked pod with several seeds. Include indigo in a drought-tolerant garden, a native garden, or a pollinator garden. 

Quick ID Hints: 

  • The flowers have four to five petals each and stand up on a raceme or spike. 
  • Blooms are white, blue, purple-blue, or yellow and can be irregular and pea shaped. 
  • The three-parted leaves have an alternate arrangement and turn black upon drying.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No significant problems. 

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VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Parking Lot Berms Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Souto Sun Garden Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Sunken Pond Garden Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Part Sun-Part Shade Gardens Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Souto Sun Garden Pinehurst Greenway Pollinator Habitat Garden, Moore County Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Parking Lot Berms Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Souto Sun Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
B. aberrans, B. alba, B. albescens, B. australis, B. cinerea, 'Blonde Bombshell', 'Blue Towers', B. tinctoria, 'Carolina Moonlight', 'Cherries Jubilee' DECADENCE® SERIES, 'Lemon Meringue', ‘Lunar Eclipse’, 'Purple Smoke', 'Purple Towers', 'Screamin Yellow', 'Twilite Prairieblues'
Tags:
#purple#white#poisonous#drought tolerant#white flowers#purple flowers#yellow flowers#native perennials#tough plant#spring flowers#disease resistant#NC native#pest resistant#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#long lifespan#poor soils tolerant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#dry soils tolerant#erosion tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
B. aberrans, B. alba, B. albescens, B. australis, B. cinerea, 'Blonde Bombshell', 'Blue Towers', B. tinctoria, 'Carolina Moonlight', 'Cherries Jubilee' DECADENCE® SERIES, 'Lemon Meringue', ‘Lunar Eclipse’, 'Purple Smoke', 'Purple Towers', 'Screamin Yellow', 'Twilite Prairieblues'
Tags:
#purple#white#poisonous#drought tolerant#white flowers#purple flowers#yellow flowers#native perennials#tough plant#spring flowers#disease resistant#NC native#pest resistant#deer resistant#herbaceous perennials#long lifespan#poor soils tolerant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#dry soils tolerant#erosion tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Baptisia
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    E. Canada to Central & E. U.S.A
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts bees and is a host plant for the ashgray blister beetle (adult version).
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer damage; tolerates drought, poor soils, dry soil, and erosion
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Habit/Form:
    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)
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a puffy, inflated, stalked bean pod with several seeds. The seeds inside of the pod are yellow to brown.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Irregular
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    fused petals
    Flower Description:
    Flowers either on long-stalked clusters above the leaves or axillary. Flowers, having five petals each, stand up on a raceme or spike. Blooms are white, blue, purple-blue, or yellow and can be irregular and pea-shaped.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate 3-parted leaves, turning black upon drying. Leaves are entire, green, trifoliate, and can vary in shape from elliptical to obovate. Leaves seem to be in groups of 3 at the end of a stem.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Drought
    Erosion
    Insect Pests
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    This plant causes only low toxicity if eaten. Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. All parts are poisonous.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Baptisin and cytisine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems