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Yellow Wild-Indigo

Baptisia tinctoria (L.) R. Br.

Yellow wild-indigo
Figure 127.—Yellow wild-indigo (Baptisia tinctoria)

Other common names.—Baptisia, indigo weed, yellow indigo, American indigo, yellow broom, indigo broom, clover broom, horsefly weed, shoofly, rattlebush.

Habitat and range.—This native herb grows on dry, poor land and is found from Maine to Minnesota and south to Florida and Louisiana.

Description.—Yellow wild-indigo is an erect, much-branched, very leafy plant about 2 to 3 feet in height with cloverlike leaves. The flowers are bright yellow, one-half inch in length, and are produced in numerous clusters from June to September. The root, which is round and fleshy, sending out branches and rootless almost 2 feet in length, has a white interior and a thick, dark-brown bark. The bark root has a bitter, nauseous taste.

Other species.—A related species, said to possess similar properties, is Baptisia alba R. Br., called the white wild-indigo. This plant has white flowers and is found in the Southern States and on the western Plains.

Part used.—The herb and the root, the latter collected in autumn.

Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.
Last update Friday, April 3, 1998 by aw