Deer in Spring Landscape

Wild False Indigo

photo of Wild False Indigo courtesy of Richard Wiegand
Wild False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Photograph by Richard Wiegand

The beautiful blue of the Wild False Indigo may be found in Maryland along the Potomac, in river washed areas and scour areas. It prefers moist open woods and prairies with sandy gravelly soil. This perennial plant, a member of the Pea Family, may be seen blooming in May and June.

Wild False Indigo is given the Threatened status in Maryland. Its habitat is vulnerable to trampling and development. Its low numbers also may be due to illegal collection, often a problem for showy plants.

The rarity of the Wild False Indigo is not just an issue for collectors and academics. This plant may also be an important food plant for another rare species, the Frosted Elfin butterfly. What affects one species affects the other.

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