Baptisia leucantha T.&G. - White Indigo

Baptisia leucantha plant

Family - Fabaceae

Stems - To 1.5m tall, branching, glabrous, glaucous, herbaceous.

Baptisia leucantha stem

Leaves - Alternate, trifoliolate, at least some with petiole .2-1.5cm long. Leaflets oblong, oblanceolate, or narrowly obovate, +/-6cm long, 2cm broad, glabrous, glaucous below, entire, minutely mucronate(-1mm long). Center leaflet sessile or on stalk shorter than lateral leaflets. Stipules to +1cm long, glabrous, erect, +2mm wide.

Inflorescence - An axillary raceme to +30(50)cm long (high).

Baptisia leucantha inflorescencePortion of inflorescence.

Flowers - White, pedicillate, 2-3cm long, papilionaceous. Calyx tube not more than 1/2 the length of the corolla, cylindrical, typically -1cm long. Stamens 10. Fruits inflated, cylindrical, 2.5-4cm long, 1-1.5cm wide, many seeded, with beak at apex +/-5mm long.

Baptisia leucantha flowerFlower.

Baptisia leucantha plantCalyx.

Baptisia leucantha fruitFruit.

Flowering - May - July.

Habitat - Roadsides, railroads, wet low ground, prairies, pastures.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This plant is typically taller than other species of Baptisia in Missouri. It is an attractive plant when flowering and is sometimes cultivated.
The genus name comes from the Greek word "bapto" which means "to dye" because some of the darker flowered species were used as dyes.
A synonym is B. lactea (Raf.) Thieret.

Photographs taken at Bethel Prairie, Barton County, MO., 7-4-03, and off Hwy 19, Shannon County, MO., 6-12-05.