Monday, May 14, 2012

Spiked Wild Indigo (Baptisia albescens)

Spiked Wild Indigo (Baptisia albescens) is one of three species of Baptisia with white flowers that are found in north Georgia; the other species are White False Indigo (Baptisia alba) and Longbract Wild Indigo (Baptisia bracteata). Spiked Wild Indigo, known by the common names Spiked Wild Indigo and Narrow-pod White Wild Indigo has not been documented well in Georgia; it has been documented officially only in Dawson County. We first saw it in Hancock County in 2011 and have taken a series of photographs. B. albescens and B. alba have similar plant shapes but differ in a number of characteristics.

A plant beside a rural road in Hancock County. It’s hard to see the shape of the plant against the surrounding vegetation.

A plant in McDuffee County, Georgia, that shows better the plant shape clearly.

The leaves are longer and more slender than those of B. alba which are more rounded.

A closer view of the flower spike of B. albescens.

A close-up view of the attachment of flowers to the spike which is consistent with B. albescens; compare with the attachment of B. alba flowers.

Close-up views of fully opened flowers

Seed pods developing on a spike. The pods are directed upwards compared with those of B. alba which hang downwards.

A closer view of the developing seed pods.

Ripe seed pods. We found that small beetles had eaten into the pods and few seeds remained.

Baptisia albescens
(Spiked Wild Indigo) is native to the United States where it’s found from Virginia to Alabama including Tennessee and Florida. It’s not been well documented in Georgia and has only been documented in Dawson County. We have found it in Hancock County.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

Name that Plant

- Baptisia albescens (Narrow-pod White Wild Indigo, Spiked Wild Indigo)

- Baptisia alba (Thick-pod White Wild Indigo)

- Baptisia bracteata (Creamy Wild Indigo)

University of North Carolina Herbarium:

- Baptisia albescens

- Baptisia alba

- Baptisia bracteata

USDA Plants Database

- Baptisia albescens (Spiked Wild Indigo)

- Baptisia alba (White Wild Indigo)

- Baptisia bracteata (Longbract Wild Indigo)

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