white wild indigo

(Baptisia lactea var. lactea)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

white wild indigo

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S3 - Vulnerable

Minnesota

Special Concern

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

 
Occurrence

Uncommon

 
Habitat

Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, savannas, open, upland woods, railroads. Full to partial sun.

 
Flowering

June to July

     
Flower Color

White

     
Height

40 to 80

     

Identification

This is a 40 to 80 tall, erect, long-lived, perennial forb that rises from a deep taproot and rhizomes.

The stems are unbranched in the middle and below, with ascending branches near the top below the inflorescence. They are light green or reddish-purple, hairless, and covered with a whitish, waxy bloom (glaucous).

The leaves are alternate and on leaf stalks that are a little over ¼ to ½ long. There are a pair of 3 16 to long, leaf-like appendages (stipules) at the base of the leaf stalk. The stipules are usually deciduous, with some falling off as the plant matures, but usually a few remaining on the plant at maturity. The leaves are divided into 3 leaflets. The leaflets are inversely lance-shaped or inversely narrowly egg-shaped, attached at the narrower end. They are 1¼ to 2 long, and up to ¾ wide. The upper side grayish-green or bluish-green and hairless. The underside is paler, hairless and glaucous. The margins are untoothed.

The inflorescence is an erect, 8 to 24 long, spike-like cluster (raceme) of large, showy flowers at the end of the stem and branches. The central raceme is longer than the lateral ones. Below the inflorescence there are small, leaf-like appendages (bracts). The bracts are ¼ to ½ long and fall before or when the plant is in flower.

The individual flowers are ½ to ¾ long and white. They are on to long flower stalks. There are 5 green sepals united at the base into a cylinder-shaped, 5 16 long calyx tube, then separated at the tip into an upper and a lower lip. The upper lip is unlobed or notched. The lower lip is divided into 3 triangular lobes. There are 5 white petals. The petals form a butterfly-like corolla, as is typical of plants in the Pea family. They are organized into a broad banner petal at the top, two narrower, lateral, wing petals, and between the wings two petals fused into a keel. The banner is upright, folded back along the edges, notched in the middle, and shorter than the wings or keel. The wings and keel are straight. There are 10 stamens. The stamens are distinct, not fused together. The flowers are pollinated by bumble bees (Bombus spp.). There is no fragrance.

The fruit is a large, drooping seedpod. It is ellipse-shaped to oblong, inflated, 1 to 1½ long, and 5 16 to ½ wide. It is green at first, turning brown as it ripens and black when it dries.

 
Similar
Species

Plains wild indigo (Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea) is a much smaller plant, no more than 24 in height at maturity. The stipules are larger, to 1¼ long, and are persistent, remaining on the plant at maturity. The floral bracts are much larger, to 1¼ long, and remain on the plant at maturity. The flowers are creamy yellow and appear earlier, May to June.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 28.

Comments

Taxonomy
Most sources, in print and online, still use the former name, Baptisia alba var. macrophylla, for this plant.


Taxonomy

Family:

Fabaceae (pea)

 

Subfamily:

Faboideae (Papilionoideae)

 

Tribe:

Thermopsideae

 
Synonyms

Baptisia alba var. macrophylla

Baptisia albescens

Baptisia albiflora

Baptisia lactea

Baptisia leucantha

Baptisia leucantha var. divaricata

 

Baptisia leucantha var. pauciflora

Baptisia pedula macrophylla

Baptisia pendula var. macrophylla

Crotalaria alba

Podalyria alba

Sophora alba

 
Common
Names

largeleaf wild indigo

large-leaved wild indigo

milky white indigo

white wild indigo


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

Calyx

The flower cup. May be the group of outer floral leaves (sepals) collectively, or a tube with lobes.

 

Glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 

Raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

Stipule

A small, leaf-like, scale-like, glandular, or rarely spiny appendage found at the base of a leaf stalk, usually occurring in pairs and usually dropping soon.

       

Visitor Photos

   
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Kirk Nelson


Found on the western end of McDonough Lake at the edge of what looks like a prairie restoration area. There were several groupings, so it looks like they were deliberately planted there.

  white wild indigo   white wild indigo

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

Plant

  white wild indigo   white wild indigo
       

Inflorescence

  white wild indigo   white wild indigo
       

Flowers

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  white wild indigo    
       

Leaves

  white wild indigo    
       

Stem

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Infructescence

  white wild indigo   white wild indigo
       
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Developing Fruit

  white wild indigo   white wild indigo
       

Mature Fruit

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Winter

  white wild indigo   white wild indigo
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Baptisia lactea (White False Indigo)
Allen Chartier
 
  Baptisia lactea (White False Indigo)  
     
  Baptisia leucantha WHITE WILD INDIGO
Frank Mayfield
 
  Baptisia leucantha WHITE WILD INDIGO  

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
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Other Videos

 
  White Wild Indigo (Baptisia leucantha)
PrairieMoonNursery
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 9, 2010

http://www.prairiemoon.com - Sometimes called Baptisia alba, White Wild Indigo is shown here at Prairie Moon Nursery.

 
     
  baptista alba video
Allan Armitage
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 15, 2013

 
     
  White Wild Indigo - Baptisia alba
adamitshelanu
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 30, 2014

White Wild Indigo - Baptisia alba

Somewhere in Randolph County, North Carolina ... Uncle Steve found a plant post-flowering and its mature seed pods that he has never seen before: White Wild Indigo

Baptisia alba
White False Indigo

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this plant.

Kirk Nelson
6/24/2018

Location: Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Found on the western end of McDonough Lake at the edge of what looks like a prairie restoration area. There were several groupings, so it looks like they were deliberately planted there.

white wild indigo


     
     
 

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