- Other Apps
As May draws to a close, it's time celebrate native wildflowers. This month, I'm sharing our Amorpha fruticosa, also known as False Indigo Bush. In nature, this upright forming shrub grows in moist open woodlands, floodplains, along river banks and edges of swamps in most of U.S. States and Eastern Canada. The first time I saw this shrub was along Lake Hartwell (Georgia), while teaching a native plant merit badge class at my sons' Scout camp. I knew I needed one for our garden.
We had a perfect spot for it to grow at the edge of a dry creek bed that often sees heavy water flow from rainfall or when we back wash our pond. A few years ago, I finally found one at a local, native plant sale. Score!
In our garden, it receives part sun, sheltered from late afternoon sun by the surrounding paw paw trees and stately red oak. The deep purple flowers contrasted with orange anthers bloom in spring. From late April through May, they provide rich nectar for all sorts of pollinators; bees, butterflies and beneficial insects.
The leaves indicate it is a member of the Fabaceae (Pea) family with its alternate, compound arrangement. The silver-spotted skipper and dogface sulphur butterflies use this shrub as a host plant for their larval stage, as do several species of moths and beetles (long-horned beetle).
Described as 'leadplant' (Amorpha canescens) on steroids, Amorpha fruticosa is a vigorous growing, deciduous shrub that will form thickets where there is suitable moisture; yet is tolerant of a range of soils from poor/dry to moist/damp areas. Its extensive root system makes it useful as a windbreak or to prevent soil erosion. It has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, which form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. This shrub will use some of this nitrogen, but it also shares with plants nearby.
In 2019, at the Garden Blogger Fling in Denver, I saw what this plant will look like at maturity. The branches danced against the bright blue sky, showing off the fabulous flowers.
I am looking forward to this specimen reaching these heights in our garden. What native wildflowers have you added to your garden lately? Need some inspiration? Check out more Wildflower Wednesday at Clay and Limestone.