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?
on: 2015-08-22 09:47:49
Found this shrub at these SNAs in June 2015.
on: 2016-06-12 15:13:31
Stearns County, MN on the Mississippi River. The shrubs are growing at the waters edge. The area is shaded by large River Maple. I've lived at this spot on the river for many years and this is the first time I've seen this plant. Photos available.
on: 2018-06-08 11:16:19
Found on land near the Red River in Marshall county. Also spotted in other parts of Fork township.
on: 2019-06-15 07:58:29
Found on private land in Murray County. Lake Sarah and Skandia townships.
on: 2019-06-17 16:45:50
flowering all over the ditches right now!
on: 2020-01-05 21:11:53
This grows near the stream at Fritz Loven Park. It was loaded with various bees this summer.
on: 2020-08-30 20:44:40
I believe this is the plant I have seen growing along the shore of Lake Minnetonka near Minnetrista. It grows taller than 3 feet, however. More like 6.
on: 2020-08-31 18:06:57
Amy, the Plant Info table at the top of the page says A. fruticosa grows up to 12 feet tall. You misread the Notes where it mentions 3 feet; it was referring to the related Amorpha nana.