PLAINS WILD INDIGO
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Baptisia bracteata  Muhl. ex  Elliott  var. leucophaea  (Nutt. ) Kartesz & Gandhi
Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 8-30 inches
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Flowering Period:   April, May
Also Called: Long-bracted wild indigo.
Stems: Erect or ascending, much-branched above, silky-hairy.
Leaves: Alternate, nearly sessile, usually 3-foliolate; leaflets lanceolate, spatulate, or elliptic, 1 to 4 inches long, 1/4 to 1 inch wide; margins entire; tips rounded or pointed; stipules ovate to lanceolate, .75 to 1.5 inches long, about 1/3 size of leaflets; tips tapering to points.
Inflorescences: Racemes, showy, many-flowered, 4 to 8 inches long, terminal, bending downward.
Flowers: Bracts oblong or lanceolate, .5 to 1.25 inch long; calyces 2-lipped, upper lip entire to 2-lobed, lower lip 3-lobed, stiff-hairy; corollas papilionaceous, about 1 inch long, cream or pale yellow; banner not longer than wings; stamens 10, separate.
Fruits: Pods, oval, 1 to 2 inches long, beaked, pubescent; seeds about 1/6 inch long, brown to olive.
Habitat: Sandy or rocky prairies, pastures and roadsides.
Distribution: East 1/2 of Kansas.
Toxicity: The foliage of young plants can be poisonous to livestock if consumed in large quantities.
Uses: The Pawnee treated colic by rubbing a mixture of pulverized wild indigo seeds and bison fat on the abdomen.
Comments: The roots of plains wild indigo can grow to 6 feet long.

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