Baptisia (False Indigo, Redneck Lupine)
Juniper Level Botanic Garden - An Ex-Situ Conservation Garden
Our Mission is to Collect, Study, Propagate, and Share
As of 2020, JLBG has just over 27,000 taxa of living plants, making the collection one of the most diverse in the world. Fundraising for an operational endowment to preserve the garden is underway, administered by NC State University. If you'd like to help preserve the gardens and plant collections for future generations, you can do so with a tax-deductible contribution at JLBG.org and click on the Donate Link.
At Juniper Level Botanic Garden, part of our mission is to educate and share both plants and information. This photo/informational gallery is devoted to cataloging as many forms as possible. It is our hope that this photographic study gallery can also prevent duplicate use of names and prevent confusion in the trade.
Baptisia is an Eastern North American genus of prairie plants in the Fabaceae (pea family) that range from Canada south to Florida and west to Texas. The genus Baptisia made its debut in 1808, although it was not formalized until 1811 by Robert Brown. Species that had been described decades earlier under the genera sophora and crotalaria slowly began their migration into the new genus. While taxonomy in baptisia has come a long way, there are still differing opinions between taxonomic lumpers and splitters. The genus contains 16 currently recognized species. JLBG currently grows all but one of those, missing the rare Florida panhandle native, Baptisia hirsuta.
Our study of the genus baptisia was greatly aided by the 1940 Baptisia monograph, authored by the late botanist Mary Maxine Larisey, former instructor at Wellesley College. The monograph is particularly detailed, not only with species descriptions, but with locations of each population. We have made trips all across the U.S. to find and collect baptisia samples. When we travel in flower season, we collect cuttings, while later season trips are for seed collections.
Baptisia foliage is primarily trifoliate with the exception of three simple-leaf species: Baptisia arachnifera, Baptisia simplicifolia, and Baptisia perfoliata. Baptisia species come in three basic flower colors: blue, white, and yellow (creamy and bright). Thanks to natural hybrids and intentional man-made crosses, we can now enjoy a range of colors.
As of 2020, Juniper Level Botanic Garden grows over 150 different taxa of baptisia (species and hybrids), making this the largest collection of baptisia in the world. As of 2021, we have introduced 23 hybrid baptisias to the world market, making ours the worlds' largest baptisia introduction program.
The flowering time for baptisia is from late March to August, while their floral display ranges from terminal inflorescences to axillary flowers.
The Blue-Flowered Species
- Baptisia australis
- Baptisia minor
The White-Flowered Species
- Baptisia alba var. alba (Baptisia pendula) - from the South
- Baptisia alba var. macrophylla (syn: Baptisia leucantha) - from the North
- Baptisia albescens
The Creamy Yellow-Flowered Species
- Baptisia leucophaea
- Baptisia megacarpa
- Baptisia nuttalliana
The Bright Yellow-Flowered Species
- Baptisia arachnifera
- Baptisia cinera
- Baptisia lanceolata
- Baptisia perfoliata
- Baptisia simplicifolia
- Baptisia sphaerocarpa
- Baptisia tinctora
- x bicolor (1940) - (minor x leucophaea)
- x serenae 1849 syn: x deamii (1940), B. x pinetorum (1940) - (alba x tinctoria)
- x fragilis (1940) - (alba x sphaerocarpa)
- x fulva (1940) - (albescens x perfoliata)
- x bushii (1913) syn: x intermedia (1940), B. x stricta (1940) - (leucophaea x sphaerocarpa)
- x microphylla (1840) - (perfoliata x tinctoria)
- x sulphurea (1878) (syn: x variicolor 1996) - (minor x sphaerocarpa)