Baptisia australis Blue Wild False Indigo Seeds and Potted Plants
 (bap-TEEZ-ee-uh  aw-STRAH-lis)

Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers Native Perennial Wild Flower Seed and Plants
 for Home Landscaping and Prairie Restoration john@easywildflowers.com

Baptisia australis, wild blue indigo, false indigo native wildflower seed

Baptisia australis, Blue False Indigo picture

Habitat Bloom
Period
Color Height
Inches
Moisture Plant
Spacing
Lifespan
Baptisia australis wild blue indigo wild false indigo picture Sun May to
June
Deep Blue
flowers,
black
seed pods
24 to 48 inches Dry to
Average
24-36 
Inches
Perennial

  Photos by cj seed pod photo  click on images for larger blue false indigo pictures

For other native wild flowers visit the Wildflower Seed and Potted Plant Price List 
 to order seeds copy and mail the order form
or 
email questions, comments, and orders to john@easywildflowers.com  

We have Blue False Indigo plants available $5.00 each plus boxing/shipping
Email john@easywildflowers.com with your zip code and number of plants to calculate the cost for shipping. 
 

Baptisia australis seed
Wild Blue False Indigo seed

approximate
number of seeds

approximate coverage
in square feet

1 packet -  $2.50 + shipping

100 25 sq ft

1 ounce - $14.50  

 1640 109 sq ft

1 pound ----------- 

 26240 1752 sq ft

Baptisia australis, Wild Blue False Indigo is a spectacular specimen in the flower garden. The  blue-green foliage resembles a small rounded bush 2 to 3 feet in height. Tall spikes of deep blue flowers bloom above the foliage in May or June and turn into large charcoal black seed pods in late summer that are often used in flower arrangements. Blue Wild Indigo has a deep taproot which permits it to withstand dry conditions and heat. It makes a nice backdrop in the perennial garden. 

Baptisia australis is a multipurpose plant that occurs naturally in limestone and dolomite glades in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Leguminosae (Pea Family) Papilionoideae
Blue Indigo is a native host plant for the following butterflies - Wild Indigo Duskywing, Eastern Tailed-Blue, Orange Sulphur, Clouded Sulphur, Frosted Elfin, Hoary Edge.

Blue Wild Indigo has a hard seed coat, germination will be improved after a pretreatment of scarification. Scrape the seed coats with a file, or rub the seeds  between 2 sheets of coarse sandpaper. Another method is immersing the seeds in hot water (approximately 180 degrees) letting them soak overnight as the water cools.  Baptisia seeds planted in fall/early winter should not need a pretreatment for spring germination.

Alternate Common Names

blue false indigo, wild indigo, plains wild indigo, false indigo, baptisia, plains baptisia, rattlepod, rattlebush, rattlebush wild indigo.

  Uses

Conservation:  It makes good ground cover in sunny locations because of its bushy habit, extensive root systems and perennial life form.  It is a native legume, fixes nitrogen in the soil, and can be part of a good wildlife seed mixture when native grasses and forbs are seeded.

Cultural:  Presently, Baptisia australis, is grown by many as an ornamental in outdoor flower gardens or as a decorative border.  It has become popular because it grows well in many areas outside its native range when planted, does well without watering, requires no fertilizer or pesticide treatments and needs no pruning.  The pods have been used in dried flower arrangements.  When in bloom the brightly colored blue flowers arranged in spikes make it very attractive.  However, a bouquet of fresh cut flowers does not last very long.  The flowers and stems turn black as soon as they begin to dry. 

  The Cherokees used the plant as a source of blue dye for their clothes.  Early pioneer settlers copied this practice.  A common name, false indigo, indicates it is not the true indigo plant (Indigofera tinctoria L.) which was introduced from the India subcontinent and cultivated for blue dye by many landowners during the early settlement of America.  Some Indian tribes used it for medicinal purposes.  The Osage made eyewash from the plant.  The Cherokees would make a tea from it.  A hot tea was taken as a purgative and a cold tea to prevent vomiting.  A pulverized root or hot tea was held over a sore tooth to relieve the pain.   Indian children would use the dried pods with the loose seeds inside as rattles.

  Weediness

Blue wild indigo is unlikely to become weedy or invasive in most regions or habitats and rarely displaces desirable vegetation.  Please consult with your local NRCS Field Office, Cooperative Extension Service office, or state natural resource or agriculture department regarding its status and use.  Weed information is also available from the PLANTS Web site at plants.usda.gov.

  Description

General: Blue wild indigo is a native, perennial, deep rooted warm season legume which reproduces by seed or rhizomes.  The leaves are alternate and trifoliate.  The plant is erect, rising from a branched root system which has root tubercles.  It branches at the top with the flowers in an erect short terminal raceme at the pinnacle.  The stems are stout and glabrous.  It may grow up to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide.  Normally, it is about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.  The flowers are hermaphroditic, about 1 inch long and may range in color from light blue to deep purple.  The fruit is an inflated hardened pod from 1 to 3 inches long and from 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter.  When mature the pods contain a number of small seeds, which are loose.  Depending on the region it may flower from April (in the south) through August (in the north).  It is in leaf approximately one month before flowering to one month after the pods have formed.  In the autumn when full maturity is reached the plant turns silvery-gray, and breaks off from the root system at ground level.  The pods stay with the plant for some time while the wind tumbles it around to a new location.  The leaves and pods turn black upon drying.  When it is growing if a leaf is crushed or stem is broken the sap turns a slate blue color when exposed to the air.

  Distribution: False Indigo occurs from Nebraska to Texas on the west to the eastern seaboard states.  It reaches into Canada in its middle range and New Hampshire is the extreme northeast area it occurs as a native.  It is rarely found near the Gulf or Atlantic coasts. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

  Habitat: Larger populations of False Indigo can be found along tree lines, bordering forested riparian areas and in open prairies or native hay meadows.  It does not grow well in shaded habitats and prefers gravelly, sandy or well-drained loamy soils.  Blue False Indigo withstands prolonged droughts. Like many legumes False Indigo can fix nitrogen in the soil.

  Adaptation

Blue wild indigo adapts to many areas outside its native habitat.  It can withstand freezing temperature extremes of negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit for a short period without any ill effects.  It grows between USDA hardiness zones 3 to 10.

  Management

Once it has become established blue wild indigo will remain healthy for several years.  It requires a minimum of maintenance in a garden or outside setting.  It is not shade tolerant, so does not make a good house plant.  Herbicides used to control broad-leaf weeds will also kill this plant.  Care should be taken whenever a pesticide is used to ensure only the targeted pests are affected.

  Pests and Potential Problems

Parasitic weevils normally infest the seedpods in their native habitats.  Generally, it takes a large number of seeds when they are harvested from a natural ecosystem to have any success at finding viable seeds.

  Environmental Concerns

Toxicity:  Some older poisonous plant literature has blamed Baptisia species for killing cattle and horses.  More modern literature documents this genus as more likely to cause severe diarrhea and anorexia.  Baptisia australis contains several quinolizidine alkaloids including anagyrine, cystinine, lupaninne, N-methylcystisine, rhombifoline, sparteine, and tinctorine.  Alkaloids have a bitter taste and make the plant unpalatable for grazing animals.  If other forage is available it is unlikely any detrimental effects from Baptisia will be seen.  No poisonings of people or pets have been recorded.  Recent German research indicates some Baptisia species may act as stimulants to the human immune system.

  Seeds and Plant Production

Collected seeds from plants growing in a native setting have an extremely low germination rate due to predation by weevils.  The pods should be treated for insects before bringing them into a greenhouse or the seeds sorted prior to bringing them inside. If these precautions are not taken it is likely several dozen weevils will immediately escape when the pod is opened.  Like many other legumes it has a hard seed coat.  The seeds must be scarified if germination is to occur within an artificial setting.  Also, studies involving stratification and soaking the seeds a full day prior to planting show more success than scarification alone.  The seeds normally germinate when the soil temperature nears 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  After seedlings emerge they can be divided and further propagated.

The map below shows areas where native wild Baptisia australis plants grow wild but it can be planted and will grow over a much wider area than shown.  USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 8.

Baptisia australis
Wild Blue Indigo

Alabama
Arkansas
Connecticut
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky

Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Missouri
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina

Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia

State Distributional Map for Baptisia australis, native wildflower seed

Use the chart below for shipping charges on flower seeds, to order copy the order form
or
 email questions, comments and orders to john@easywildflowers.com

please contact us by email for shipping charges on potted plants

The minimum seed order amount is $10, this can be a combination of different seeds.
 

subtotal for flower seeds 

shipping charge for seeds

seed orders up to  $20.00    =  

 $4.00 shipping

$20.01 - $50.00    =  

 $6.00 shipping

$50.01-$100.00    =  

 $7.50 shipping

over $100.00    =    7.5 % of subtotal

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Easyliving Wildflowers
PO Box  522
Willow Springs,  MO.  65793

USA

Phone 417-469-2611 

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e-mail questions, comments, and orders to  john@easywildflowers.com

Baptisia australis Blue False Indigo Plant distribution map complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
  (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.