photo of Amorpha fruticosa

Amorpha fruticosa

False Indigo Bush

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Purple and orange flowers are an important nectar source for native bees, butterflies and beneficial insects.

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This flowering perennial shrub averages 6-10 feet tall, and can form dense thickets. A member of the Pea family, it features characteristic pinnately compound leaves, offering a fine textured appearance. However, its flower does not conform to characteristic Pea Family flowers. In May-June, clusters of purple petals contrasting with bright orange anthers rise on spikelike branches above the foliage. Grows in well-drained soils in full sun to partial shade. Tolerates occasional flooding, as well as poor sandy soil; adaptable. Fruit pods mature in July-August. Useful as erosion control, wind breaks and privacy screens. Although currently listed as native to New Jersey, its historic range excludes the northeast; it is considered weedy and invasive in Connecticut and Maine.It’s native status may change as botanists continue their research.

Wildlife Value: Important nectar source for native bees, butterflies and beneficial insects. Larval host plant to several butterflies including: California & southern dogfaces, Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus), Gray hairstreak, and Hoary edge skipper.

Plant Details:

Other Scientific Names: Amorpha fruticosa, Amorpha angustifolia

Other Common Names: Indigo Bush

Plant Type: Flower, Perennial, Shrub

New Jersey Native: Yes

Bloom Times: Summer

Bloom Colors: Orange, Purple

Deer Resistance: Some

Attracts Pollinators and Wildlife: Bees and Other Pollinators, Butterflies

Salt Tolerance: Unknown

Hardiness Zone: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b

Physiographic Region: All Regions in NJ

Soil Characteristics

Soil Type: Loam, Organic, Sandy

Soil Moisture: Dry, Moist

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic, Neutral, Slightly Alkaline

Light Needs of Plant

Optimal Light: Full Sun

Light Range: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Water Needs of Plant

Soil Moisture: Dry, Moist

Drought Tolerance: Medium

Size and Growth Rate

Height: 4 - 12 ft

Spread: 6 - 15 ft

Growth Rate: Medium