White Wild Indigo, Baptisia leucantha

White Wild Indigo

Baptisia leucantha

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Summer
Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Dry, Moist, Medium
Color: White
Fragrance: No
Height: 4 feet
Spacing: 1 foot

White Wild Indigo (Baptisia leucantha) is a herbaceous perennial plant is about 3-6 feet tall and forms an erect, sparsely branched bush, although it is herbaceous. The stout central stem and upper side stems are smooth, light green or reddish purple, and glaucous. The compound leaves are trifoliate. They are usually greyish green or blue green, and hairless. Each leaflet is ovate or oblanceolate and pointed at both ends, with smooth margins, and about 2 inches long and ¾-inch across. The white flowers occur in erect spike-like racemes up to 2 feet long and are quite showy. They are typical pea flowers in overall structure, and about 1 inch long. There is no floral scent. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer and lasts about 1-1½ months. The flowers are replaced by large oblong seedpods, which are also rather showy. They are about 2 inches long and initially green, but later turn black. There is a stout deep taproot, and rhizomes that may form vegetative offsets. Once established, White Wild Indigo grows very quickly during the spring – it often towers above the surrounding plants by blooming time.

Habitats include moist to dry black soil prairies, sand prairies, thickets, edges of marshes and sandy marshes, borders of lakes, limestone glades, and dry clay hills. White Wild Indigo is typically found in less disturbed habitats, partly because of limited seed dispersion. Occasional wildfires are readily tolerated.

The preference is full sun and moist to slightly dry soil. The soil can contain significant amounts of loam, clay, gravelly material, or sand. This plant is not fussy about growing conditions, and is easy to grow. However, it dislikes alkaline soil and may fail to bloom in shady conditions. Like other wild indigos, this plant may take several years to reach blooming size, but it is long-lived. The roots increase nitrogen levels in the soil.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Adult Wild Indigo Weevils eat the leaves and flowers of this and other Baptisia species; their grubs attack the seeds in the pods.
  Bumblebees pollinate the flowers and caterpillars of several skippers, butterflies and moths feed on the foliage.
  New sprouts of White Wild Indigo can be mistaken for asparagus when they push from the ground in spring.
  Baptisia prefers slightly acidic soils
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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