Amorpha fruticosa (False Indigo)
|Also known as:||Desert False Indigo, Bastard Indigo|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist; along shores, edges of woods|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||3 to 12 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in spike clusters to 6 inches long and ½ to 1 inch in diameter. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch long, tubular looking, deep purple to reddish brown with 10 protruding yellow-orange tipped stamens. The “tube” is actually a single petal rolled up to look like a tube. One plant has numerous spikes, with 1 to a few spikes at the end of branching stems.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are compound in groups of 11 to 25, alternately attached at the main stem. Leaflets are generally oval, rounded at both ends, to 1½ inch long and ¾ inch wide, and toothless. They can be hairless or hairy to varying degrees. The main stem is woody and hairless.
Notes:False Indigo is technically a shrub. It is native to the midwest but has been cultivated in other parts of the country. The flowers look very similar to Lead Plant, but its leaflets are smaller, more numerous and compact, it grows in dry habitats and only grows to a maximum 3 feet tall.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Shoreview, MN. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin county.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?