Pineland Indigo - Tomentose Gopherweed
Baptisia lanceolata, Var. tomentosa (Walter) Elliott
Fabaceae (Pea) Family

Plant is an upright, bushy perennial. Preferred habitat is sand hills and open woods, prairies, and waste places. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are pinnately divided into three oblong; smooth; about 1.5 inches long; dull green above and downy beneath; blunt at the tip and base is wedge-shaped on short leaf stalks.

The fairly large flowers are about 1/2 inch long and appear as two or three tightly clustered at the end of the flowering stem; appearing in the leaf axil. Flowers occur in the spring.

Fruit is a beaked bean pod.

They are quite common in the pinelands of Florida and Alabama. Extracts from the plant were used by the Seminole Indians to prepare a crude yellow dye. Since those Native Americans were not a warring nation the dyes were purely ceremonial or were used to color clothing and material for making colorful wraps and blankets. There is no indication that the plant is poisonous, however, it would not be wise to swallow the dried seeds. It is sometimes called a “False Indigo” alongside the Baptisia alba and Amorpha fruitcosa.

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