White Wild Indigo
White Wild Indigo

White Wild Indigo

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Baptisia lactea

Exposure: Full-Partial Sun
Soil: Medium Wet- Dry
Mature Height: 5 feet
Blooms: June, July

Notable Features: White Wild Indigo has striking charcoal-gray stems, blue-green leaves and pea-like blossoms forming on long spikes, making it quite showy, but without floral scent. New sprouts can be mistaken for asparagus when they push from the ground in spring. After the first frost, the entire shrub-like plant turns black, adding a stunning contrast to the copper-color of Little Bluestem, or the remaining yellow of goldenrods in a fall landscape. New plants will spend a few years developing their root structure, so be patient for year 3 when this plant will start to develop more top growth. Plants in the Baptisia genus are “nitrogen fixers,” meaning they’re able to take nitrogen out of the atmosphere and transfer it to their roots, where it becomes converted to a usable form in the soil. WHOA. This is basically free fertilizer, except it’s not in a bag that you have to buy. Previous Latin name in use was Baptisia alba. Thanks for keeping it confusing, botanical-name-decision makers.

 Attracts: Worker bumblebees pollinate the flowers. The caterpillars of some skippers and butterflies occasionally feed on the foliage, including Erynnis baptisiae (Wild Indigo Duskywing), Achelerus lyciades (Hoary Edge), Colias cesonia (Southern Dogface), and Colias eurythema (Orange Sulfur). The caterpillars of the moth Dasylophus anguina (Black-spotted Prominent) can also be found on the foliage. Another insect, Apionrostrum (Wild Indigo Weevil), feeds on this plant. The adult weevils eat both the leaves and flowers, while their grubs stay in the pods and eat the seeds.