USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 344
Where Commonly Found: Riparian terraces, river banks, meadows and fields, considered introduced to New England, though native to eastern North America, CT, MA, NH, NY, VT.
How to Identify:
(For unfamiliar words: Wikipedia Glossary of Botanical Terms).
Go Botany Key to Baptisia australis.
Missouri Botanical Garden description of Baptisia australis, Click on more images.
Flower Color: Indigo blue.
Flower Type: Bilateral, 1″ long pea-like flowers, in dense upright terminal 4″-16″ long racemes (lupine-like spikes), above the foliage, 5 petals, 10 stamen.
Flower Time: May-June.
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate. Bushy, robust, almost shrub-like.
Leaf Type: Compound leaves with 3 leaflets, smooth entire edges, 3/4″ – 1-1/2″ long and 1/4-1/2″ wide, wedge shaped bottoms with blunt rounded tips.
Height: 4.5′ – 5.5′
Seed Collection: 6 weeks after flowering, pod turns black and begins to open, mature seeds should be hard, brown, rounded. Comb from the pod, store in sealed container, refrigerated.
Light: Full Sun to Part Sun
Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9 USDA Zone Map
Soils: Dry to Moist
Notes: Blue Wild Indigo is a garden beauty with long-lasting violet spikes with high value to pollinators. Cherokee used for blue dye. Some toxicity if ingested-tastes badly.
Introduced and naturalized in the Northeast except ME, rare in much of the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest, antive to South Central US: Biota of North America Program (BONAP) – North American Plant Atlas (NAPA).