Blue Wild Indigo
Origin: Eastern North America
Improvement status: Cultivated wild material
Seeds per packet: ~30
Germination tested 12/2019: 91%
Life cycle: Perennial
Blue Wild Indigo is a perennial legume native to the eastern and central US. It's popular as a garden plant due to its beautiful and early blue flowers (which are also quite popular with pollinators). This is a clump-forming plant that sends up multiple 2 to 4 foot flowering stalks each spring which die back to the ground each fall. If given room, it will spread. Cherokee people are said to have used blue wild indigo as a dye plant and as medicine. Interestingly, it's said that a hot tea made from the roots will induce vomiting, while the same tea cold will stop vomiting. It was also used to treat toothaches and is believed to be an anti-inflammatory and may boost the immune system. NOTE: Seeds are toxic.
***Edible landscapers and other agroecology folks may find this plant useful due its role as nitrogen-fixing understory plant and pollinator attractor.
GROWING TIPS: Direct seed or start in flats after danger of frost has passed. Expect plants to spread by their roots.