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​False Indigo Baptisia australis

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BAPTISIA

Though its botanical name suggests you might find it growing in Australia, Baptisia australis is actually native to much of the central and eastern U.S. Slow to settle in, this showy perennial member of the pea family produces lovely violet-blue flowers in early summer, followed by distinctive seed pods.

As one of its common names suggests, False Indigo produces a dark blue dye, although it is not as durable or vibrant as the dye from the true Indigo plant. It also has numerous medicinal uses, ranging from emetic to purgative, as well as to treat pneumonia, influenza, smallpox, fever, and even the common cold.

Baptisia australis will grow in well-drained soil, in full sun to part shade. It often takes several years to settle in and begin flowering. Its deep roots make it drought tolerant, although very difficult to transplant.

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