Amorpha fruticosa L.

  • Family: Fabaceae (legumes)
  • Common names: false indigo, indigobush
  • Synonyms: At least 16 obscure synonyms.

    Shrub to 3.5 m (11 ft) tall, often growing in dense thickets along streams or lakeshores. Leaves densely pilose, 10-30 cm (4-12 in) long, with 5-25 leaflets. Stipules linear, 2-4 mm (0.08-0.15 in) long, early deciduous. Leaflets elliptic to elliptic-oblong, 2-4 cm (0.8-1.6 in) long, 1-2 cm (0.4-0.8 in) wide, opposite to subopposite, often with a short bristle at the tip. Racemes erect, clustered, densely-flowered, 10-20 cm (4-8 in) long. Flowers small, dark red-purple, with long stamens. Legume 5-7 mm (0.2-0.3 in) long, single-seeded.

    Distribution: Native to eastern U. S. (west to Rocky Mountains) and northern Mexico.
    Habitat: Usually riparian or lakeshore. Sometimes found in moist upland locations.
    NWI status: FACW
    Comment: Quail and other birds eat the seeds, but the foliage may be poisonous to livestock. Amorpha means "without form" and refers to the one-petaled flowers; fruticosa refers to the shrubby growth form.

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/8/99
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