False indigo is a deciduous shrub that typically grows to 4-12' tall (less frequently 20') with a spread exceeding its height. The plant is native to moist open woodlands, floodplains, stream banks, and swamp margins from central and eastern Canada south through much of the U. S. into northern Mexico. The leaves of this plant are compound and odd-pinnate. The leaflets of this plant are oval to elliptic, dull gray-green, with glandular dots and toothless margins. Each leaf contains 11 to 35 leaflets with spiny tips.
The tubular scented flowers (to 3/8" long) bloom in dense spike-shaped clusters (racemes) between May and June. Flowers are purple with a single-petaled corolla and ten protruding stamens with orange-yellow anthers. Fruits mature in July and August in small, resinous-dotted pods containing 1-2 seeds. Amorpha canescens (lead plant) grows much larger.
Quickly grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Tolerant of occasional flooding. It also tolerates poor, sandy, somewhat dry soils. It may spread by self-seeding and/or suckers to form thickets. In some parts of its range, it is considered weedy/invasive, particularly in the northeastern and northwestern U.S. Prune in late winter to early spring to improve shrub form.
Light: Full Sun, Part Shade
Water: Medium, High
Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Origin: Southern United States
Deer Resistant: No