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(Baptisia australis)
Wild Indigo

Host Plant: Orange Sulphur, Clouded Sulphur, Frosted Elfin, Eastern Tailed Blue, Hoary Edge, and Wild Indigo Duskywing

Nectar Plant: many insects

Flower Color: Blue, Purple/Lavender, White

Growth Habit: Herbaceous plant that grows to 3-5 feet tall

Range in North America: Eastern North America

Exposure: Full sun

Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Soil Requirements: moist, well-drained soil

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Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis)

Purplish-blue flowers of wild indigo (Baptisia australis) in a wooded setting.
Flowers of Wild Indigo — Baptisia australis (L.) R.Br. observed in United States of America by AlexandraU (licensed under CC0 1.0)

Alternative Names

Blue False Indigo and Rattlebush

Description of Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis)

Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis), a member of the Fabaceae (Bean Family), is a herbaceous perennial that grows to 5 feet tall and blooms in the spring and summer with blue/purple flowers.  These plants have historically been used for dye (indigo), hence the name.

More information about this plant can be on this blog post.

Hosted Species

Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)

Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) on Fabric Butterfly
Orange Sulphur Butterfly on Fabric — Meganmccarty, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice) Butterfly
Clouded Sulphur Butterfly — Meganmccarty, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus)

Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus) butterfly on a leaf
Frosted Elfin on leaf — pondhawk from Winter Park, Florida, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nectar Species

Many insects use this plant as a nectar source.


This species grows in open woods in full sun or part-shade conditions.

Range of Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis) in the United States and Canada

Range map of wild indigo (Baptisia australis) in the United States and Canada.

Interesting Facts

The genus name, Baptisia, comes from the Greek word for dye and the species name, australis, means southern (Missouri Botanical Garden).

Native Location

Ontario, Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone

Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9


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Wild Indigo”

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