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(Plant heights are given at maturity)

Baptisia sp.  (Indigo weed, Rattleweed, Rattlebush, horsefly weed)  For plant information, cultivation and seed specs, see Cultivation below

Baptisia australis False Indigo   Baptisia (False Indigo) - Baptisia australis - Hardy perennial; Racemes of true blue flowers on erect grey-green stems. Leaves resemble clover, bloom resemble a lupine. Seed pods dry to a dark grey and are used decoratively. Native US plant from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. The roots are anti-inflammatory and are used to treat toothache. The Cherokee made a blue dye from the leaves, but it is a weak substitute for indigo. Full sun or partial shade; plant height: 3-5ft.
#104          Seed Packet         Approximately 50 seeds        $8.00
#B1oz-104         Bulk seed 1oz          Approximately 1,937 seeds     $55.00 
#B1-104            Bulk seed 1lb seeds         Approximately 31,000 seeds     $587.00 
#P104            Plant   3in. pot    $12.95

Baptisia alba (Syn. Baptisia leucantha ,Baptisia pendula, Baptisia lactea) (White False Indigo) - Hardy perennial; Snow white blooms on a strong shrubby plant with blue-green leaves. Native to the central and eastern US.   A weak blue dye can be obtained from the leaves. Full sun or partial shade; plant height: 3-5ft.
#1281     Seed Packet    Approximately 50 seeds    $8.00
#B1z-1281       Bulk seed 1oz      Approximately 1,937 seeds      $45.00 
#B1-1281        Bulk seed 1lb       Approximately 31,000 seeds       $520.00 
#P1281         Plan  3in. pot    $14.00


Baptisia is a hardy perennial herbaceous shrub, native to the eastern United States and can be found growing naturally at woodland borders and along streams or in meadows.  A member of the Pea family, Leguminosae, baptisias make excellent border or specimen plants.  Plants bear purple, white or yellow racemes of pea-like blooms in the early summer that mature into oblong fruits which will dry containing several kidney bean shaped seeds each.  These seed pods remain attached to the shrub long into the winter and can be distributed by birds or other fauna. The seed pods are used decoratively.  Stems are strong and branching and secrete a sap that turns blue when dried.   Leaves are trifoliate and resemble those of clover.  

All varieties of Baptisia are cultivated, though the most common is B. australis.  Baptisia thrive in well drained ordinary garden soil in a sunny location.  The plants have deep tap roots which allow them to survive drought, but also make it difficult to move the plant,  so it is best to plant in a permanent location.

Baptisia can be propagated by sowing seed or by dividing in the early spring.   Seeds should be soaked in warm water for 12 hrs. prior to sowing. FOR TRANSPLANTS Sow seed in pots or trays at a depth of 1/8 inch.  Keep moist at 55-65F until seedlings emerge.  Transplant seedlings to larger containers when they reach 2 inches tall, being careful not to disturb the long tap root.  Transplants can be planted outdoors when all danger of frost has passed.  They should be placed in their permanent location to avoid root damage.  DIRECT SOW:  Sow seed in early spring when the soil has warmed to 60F.  Plant 2 seeds every 24-36 inches apart each way.  Thin to 1 plant every 24-36 inches.

Baptisia has been used as a dye plant by native Americans for hundreds of years.  It yields a blue dye - not very strong, so a lot of leaves are needed.  The roots have also been used to treat toothache and to sooth upset stomach.  Caution is needed, however, since ingestion of large quantities of roots can be toxic.

SEED SPECS:  Approximately 31,000 seeds per pound


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