FALSE INDIGO
File Size: 112 KB
 
Amorpha fruticosa  L.
Reno County, Kansas
Shrub
Height: 3-12 feet
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Flowering Period:   May, June
Also Called: Indigobush amorpha.
Stems: Erect, 1-several from base, often branching, bushy-topped.
Leaves: Alternate, odd-pinnately compound, generally 4 to 12 inches long, herbage of current season minute-hairy; on stalks 1 to 2 inches long; stipules narrowly linear, falling off early; leaflets opposite, 4-15 pairs plus 1; oblong or elliptic, 1/2 to 2 inches long, 2/5 to 1 inch wide; margins entire; tips rounded to pointed or apex notched with sharp, short point; surfaces variously hairy to nearly glabrous.
Inflorescences: Racemes, spike-like, erect, solitary or more typically 3-several clustered together, densely flowered, 2 to 8 inches long, terminal.
Flowers: Short-stalked; calyx cone-shaped, glabrous or hairy, 5-lobed; lobes rounded or triangular; corolla reddish-purple; petal 1, erect, egg-shpaed, 1/5 to 1/4 inch long, folded to enclose stamens and pistil; stamens 10, filaments united near base.
Fruits: Pod, curved, about 1/4 inch long, glabrous or short-hairy, 1-seeded; seeds smooth, reddish-brown.
Habitat: Stream and pond margins, open wet woods, rocky banks, ravines, and roadsides; moist soils.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Uses: The Lakota made arrows from the stem and the Kiowa used the stems for firmness beneath bedding material. The Pawnee would lay the whole plant between pieces of meat and the ground when butchering, to keep the meat clean.
Comments: False indigo is quite variable in regard to leaf shape and pubescence.

False indigo flowers
83 KB
Reno County, Kansas
False indigo inflorescence
105 KB
Reno County, Kansas
False indigo leaves
115 KB
Reno County, Kansas
False indigo
106 KB
Reno County, Kansas
False indigo
88 KB
Reno County, Kansas
False indigo
102 KB
Reno County, Kansas
False indigo leaves
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
False indigo bark
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
False indigo fruit
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konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
False indigo fruit
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konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas