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This is one of the earliest plants to bloom in the prairie, and it is quite showy and attractive. With the exception of the Blue Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis), other Baptisia spp. that occur in Illinois bloom later in the year. This latter species is rare in natural areas of the state, although it is relatively common in cultivation because of the showy blue flowers. Another species, White Wild Indigo (Baptisia alba macrophylla), is a taller plant with white flowers. It differs from Cream Wild Indigo by having erect racemes of flowers, rather than racemes that are widely spreading or sprawl across the ground. The foliage of this latter species is glabrous. Yellow Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria) is also rare in natural areas of the state, occurring in sand prairies and sandy savannas in Kankakee County. This species is about the same height as Cream Wild Indigo, but its flowers are smaller in size and more yellow, while its foliage is glabrous. Unlike the preceding species of this genus, Yellow Wild Indigo doesn't produce flowers in elongated racemes. Another scientific name of Cream Wild Indigo is Baptisia leucophaea. Return


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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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