Amazing Amorpha


Golden anthers contrast with dark purple floral tubes on bastard false indigo (Amorpha fruticosa) shown flowering at Cypress Bend Community Preserve on 4-10-2016. Its floral spikes are 2 – 5″ long and quite showy.


False indigo, a deciduous plant, is found throughout most of the contiguous U.S. and ranges into Canada and Mexico, often along river banks. Its foliage is odd-pinnate. This plant is a larval host for the southern dogface butterfly  (Zerene cesonia), the gray hairstreak butterfly (Strymon melinus), and the silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus).

Though its genus name amorpha means without definite form, it sometimes grows in a rounded shape …


Its species name fruticosa means shrubby. This shrub can grow to be more than 12′ tall, especially in shady conditions.

Like many members of the pea family (Fabaceae), false indigo fixes nitrogen and can thrive in nutrient poor soils. With its racemes of dramatically colored flowers, false indigo makes an excellent landscape plant for full sun or light shade.



  1. Wonderful plant! One of the reasons I go back to Cypress Bend again and again. It is only place I have seen it, at least in bloom when it is readily recognizable. Nancy



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