California Native Plant Society
Tap map to see plants native to location
Add
Please enter either the common name or the botanical name of any native California plant species to see it's plant record

Loading....
Western False Indigo
  • Added Add to My Plant List
Amorpha fruticosa
  

Zoom To My AddressZoom To California Estimated Plant Range



About Western False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa) Amorpha fruticosa is a species of flowering plant in the legume family known by several common names, including desert false indigo and bastard indigobush. It is found throughout eastern Canada, northern Mexico, and most of the continental United States. In California it is native to the southwestern part of the state with scattered occurrences in the central valley. A. fruticosa grows as a hairy, thornless shrub which can reach 3 to 4 meters in height and spread to twice that in width. It is somewhat variable in morphology. The leaves are made up of many hairy, oval-shaped, spine-tipped leaflets. The flower cluster is a spike-shaped raceme of many flowers, each with a single purple petal and ten protruding stamens with yellow anthers. The fruit is a legume pod containing one or two seeds.

This plant likes moist (but not saturated) areas, and will spread wherever it finds suitable moisture. It is loosely branched and can become leggy with age; it needs plenty of room to spread out. Its spreading tendency and fibrous root system make it useful for bank stabilization. It is winter deciduous so will be less attractive for several months out of the year. It is the host plant for the Southern Dogface butterfly.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Shrub

Max. Height
12 ft (3.7 m)

Form
Fountain, Spreading

Dormancy
Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
Purple

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter


Native Status
Native

Natural Setting
Site Type
Stream edges, canyons, north facing slopes of southern California and scattered locations in the central valley

Sun
Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
-180' - 8177'

Annual Precip. ?
4.9" - 47.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.18" - 2.85"

Coldest Month ?
33.5° F - 59.0° F

Hottest Month ?
60.6° F - 87.5° F

Humidity ?
0.85 vpd - 38.32 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils

Soil PH
7.0 - 8.5

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Sodic Soil

Drainage
Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 30° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2*, 3*, 6*, 7*, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
It inhabits similar areas to California Wild Rose (Rosa californica). Other companions could include Meadow Rue (Thalictrum fendleri), Snowdrop Bush (Styrax officinalis), Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), Yellow Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), Western Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale), Brown Dogwood (Cornus glabrata) and Huckleberry (Vaccinum ovatum).

Wildlife Attracted
Butterlies, especially the Southern Dogface which will lay its eggs on this plant

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Low, Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Low
Moderate - High


Popularity
Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
1/week
No Summer Water
1x/month
2x/month
3x/month
1/week
Keep moist


Pruning
Overly leggy growth can be pruned out in the winter when the plant is dormant

Propagation ?
Root divisions or layering..  For propagating by seed: No treatment; scarification may improve germination.

Common uses
Hedges, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Desert Indigobush


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

Sign in to your Calscape Account X




Once signed in, you'll be able to access any previously saved plant lists or create new ones.

Email Address
Password

Sign In


Copyright © 1999-2014 California Native Plant Society. All rights reserved.