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Amorpha fruticosa - L.
                 
Common Name False Indigo, False indigo bush
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards The plant is said to contain alkaloids and be poisonous to livestock[274].
Habitats River banks, rich moist thickets etc[43, 184]. Grows chiefly in limestone soils[274].
Range Southern N. America. Locally naturalized in S. and C. Europe[50].
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
Amorpha fruticosa is a deciduous nitrogen fixing shrub in the legume family. Found wild in most of the contiguous United States, southeastern Canada, and northern Mexico and introduced to Europe. Asia and other continents. It is often cultivated as an ornamental plant. It has minor edible use and some additional uses including: Bedding; Dye; Insecticide; Oil; Repellent; Shelterbelt; and Soil stabilization. Common names, including desert false indigo, false indigo-bush, and bastard indigobush.

Amorpha fruticosa False Indigo, False indigo bush


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Gromhelm
Amorpha fruticosa False Indigo, False indigo bush
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Gromhelm
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Amorpha fruticosa is a deciduous Shrub growing to 4.5 m (14ft 9in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Habitats
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Oil.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Oil.

The crushed fruit is used as a condiment[105, 177, 183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



None known
Other Uses
Bedding;  Dye;  Insecticide;  Oil;  Repellent;  Shelterbelt;  Soil stabilization.

Plants have an extensive root system and are also fairly wind tolerant, they can be planted as a windbreak and also to prevent soil erosion[200]. Resinous pustules on the plant contain 'amorpha', a contact and stomachic insecticide that also acts as an insect repellent[57, 200]. The stems are used as bedding[61]. The plant contains some indigo pigment and can be used to make a blue dye[169]. Unfortunately, the pigment is only present in very small quantities, there is not enough to harvest commercially[169].
Cultivation details
Agroforestry Services: Alley crop;  Agroforestry Services: Contour hedgerow;  Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen;  Agroforestry Services: Windbreak;  Fodder: Bank;  Industrial Crop: Pesticide;  Management: Coppice;  Minor Global Crop.

Prefers a light well-drained sandy soil in sun or light shade[184, 200]. Plants are fairly wind-resistant[200]. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25c[184, 200]. A polymorphic species, there are many named forms[43]. The flowers have a vanilla perfume[245]. Plants resent root disturbance, they should be planted out into their final positions whilst small[133]. Trees only ripen their seed in fine autumns[80]. Plants are said to be immune to insect pests[200]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
Propagation
Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow early spring in a greenhouse[78, 133]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 2 months at 20°c[133]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June/July in a frame. High percentage[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, autumn, in a sheltered position outdoors. Takes 12 months[78]. Suckers in spring just before new growth begins[200]. Layering in spring .

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Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

An invasive weed in Connecticut (false indigo): Potentially invasive, banned and Washington (indigobush) Class B noxious weed/noxious weed seed and plant quarantine
Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Amorpha canescensLead Plant22
Amorpha nanaDwarf Indigobush, Dwarf false indigo, Dwarf Indigo01
Sasamorpha borealis 10
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Expert comment
 
Author
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Botanical References
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Links / References
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Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Thu Jul 17 2008
thanks for providing so much information. this has been the most informative website that i've come across so far and it's been very helpful
Elizabeth H.
Bálint Czúcz Tue Apr 21 2009
In Hungary this is one of the most noxious weeds in riverine habitats, and the vast stands are often used by bee-keepers to produce a quite delicious honey. In restauration plans Amorpha stands are sometimes grazed by grey cattle after a mechanical treatment. This is said to prevent Amorpha thickets from regeneration, and as far as I know, there have been no cases of cattle poisonining.
Eric B.
Jul 29 2011 12:00AM
We use this at Spring Valley Ecofarms for forage and erosion control. It is used in China for the same purpose. It makes a great intercropping species for farms and makes a GREAT hedgerow that is easily managed with a sickle mower/hedgetrimmer. It is a nitrogen fixer and is decent forage for cattle. It's of very similar quality as Rubinia pseudoacacia. It's native across most of the United States. Also the seeds smell amazing, like anise or sweet tea. See: Forage value of Mediterranean deciduous woody fodder species and its implication to management of silvo-pastoral systems for goats, T. G. Papachristou and V. P. Papanastasis, 1994
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Subject : Amorpha fruticosa  

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