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This is a favorite garden plant because of its showy flowers and attractive foliage. There is a dwarf variety of Blue Wild Indigo, Baptisia australis minor, that occurs in prairies of the southern and central Great Plains. This variety is smaller in overall size, but it has slightly larger fragrant flowers. Sometimes this variety is classified as a distinct species, Baptisia minor. Both the typical variety and the dwarf variety have blue flowers. Other Wild Indigos (Baptisia spp.) can be distinguished by their differently colored flowers, varying from white to yellow. There are also some differences in the characteristics of their leaves, stipules, inflorescences, and growth form, making them fairly easy to differentiate. Lupines (Lupinus spp.) can be distinguished from Wild Indigos by the greater number of leaflets (more than 3) in their palmately compound leaves. Another interesting difference is the lack of nectaries in the flowers of lupines.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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