© Iralee Barnard
||2 - 3 feet
Stems and leaves are smooth and covered with a thin, whitish, waxy coating. Leaves are
alternate and have three leaflets. Spreading branches are topped with an upright flower
spike and large, pea-like blue to lavender flowers.
While still standing, the entire plant turns black when it dries. The large seed
pods are distinctive and conspicuous especially when black. Open a ripe seed pod, and you
may not find seeds but possibly the larva of the wild indigo weevil. Blue Wild-indigo is
avoided by cattle and deer because it is toxic. It is found in the eastern two-thirds of
Kansas on open prairies. A related species, Plains Wild-indigo, has hairy leaves and stems
and bears cream to yellow flowers that cascade from the sides of the plant.
Blue Wild-indigo seed pods
© by Iralee Barnard
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Text: Iralee Barnard
Design: Jim Mason