For Your Garden - May 2011
Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year. Why not add a few native plant species to your garden this year?
cream wild indigo (Baptisia bracteata)
Photo © 2009, River Valley Photographic Resources, Ltd., rvprltd.com
Cream wild indigo has two natural varieties in Illinois. One grows in moist prairies and open woods in the northern 4/5 of the state, while the other variety is rare and grows in west central and southern Illinois. Its growth form is low and bushy. The leaves are sessile and hairy. This plant may reach one foot tall and two to two and one-half feet wide. It blooms in May and June. The flowers are cream yellow and develop in horizontal to drooping clusters about eight inches long. In the garden, this species grows best with sun to partial shade conditions. It can be planted in dry to moist soil and is slow-growing but long-lived.
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.