Baptisia tinctoria - (L.)Vent.
Common Name Wild Indigo, Horseflyweed
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous in large quantities[21, 46]. Irritation of the eyes. May cause dermatitis. Avoid with inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases [301].
Habitats Dry soils in open woods and clearings[21, 43].
Range Eastern N. America - Virginia to Florida.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

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Baptisia tinctoria Wild Indigo, Horseflyweed
Baptisia tinctoria Wild Indigo, Horseflyweed[email protected]
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Baptisia tinctoria is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in leaf 10-Apr It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Baptisia gibbesii. Podalyria tinctoria. Sophora tinctoria.

 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Young shoots - cooked. An asparagus substitute[2, 105, 161, 177]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
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.

Adaptogen;  Alterative;  Antibacterial;  Antiseptic;  Astringent;  Cholagogue;  Emetic;  Febrifuge;  
Homeopathy;  Purgative;  Stimulant.

Wild indigo was a favourite medicine of the N. American Indians, a decoction of the roots being used as an antiseptic wash for wounds and skin complaints[213, 238]. Modern research has shown that this acrid bitter herb stimulates the immune system[222, 238] and is particularly effective against bacterial infections[238]. Caution is advised in the internal use of this plant, large or frequent doses are potentially harmful[222]. A tea made from the roots is cholagogue, emetic, febrifuge and purgative[4, 21, 46, 165, 222]. The fresh root is also considered to be antiseptic, astringent and laxative[4, 21, 46, 165, 222]. The infusion is used in the treatment of upper respiratory infections such as tonsillitis and pharyngitis, and is also valuable in treating infections of the chest, gastro-intestinal tract and skin[254].The plants antimicrobial and immune-stimulant properties combat lymphatic problems, when used with detoxifying herbs such as Arctium lappa it helps to reduce enlarged lymph nodes[254]. Wild indigo is frequently prescribed, along with Echinacea, in the treatment of chronic viral infections or chronic fatigue syndrome[254]. A decoction of the root soothes sore or infected nipples and infected skin conditions[254]. When used as a mouth wash or gargle the decoction treats mouth ulcers, gum infections and sore throats[254]. The fresh root, including the bark, is used to make a homeopathic medicine[232]. This has a limited range of action, but is used especially in the treatment of certain types of flu[232].


Other Uses
Dye;  Repellent.

This species is related to the tropical plant Indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) and, like that species, contains a blue dyestuff in the leaves[1]. The dyestuff is only contained in very low concentrations, however, and a very large quantity of leaves would be required to obtain reasonable quantities of indigo[169]. A yellow dye can also be obtained from the plant[61]. If the growing plant is harvested and hung up, it is said to repel flies[213].
Cultivation details
Prefers a deep, rich, well-drained neutral to slightly acid soil in full sun[200, 233]. Grows freely in a loamy soil. Plants are shy flowering in British gardens[200, 233]. Plants have a very deep root system and dislike root disturbance, they should be left alone once they are established[188, 233]. 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].
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[200]. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water and then sown in a cold frame in late winter or early spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer or following spring. Division in spring[188]. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.
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.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Baptisia australisWild Indigo, Blue wild indigo, Blue False Indigo02
Baptisia bracteataPlains Wild Indigo, Longbract wild indigo, False Indigo, Cream Wild Indigo02
Baptisia lacteaWild Indigo01
Baptisia pendulaWhite False Indigo, False Indigo00


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Botanical References
Links / References
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Readers comment
Gopal Pandey   Thu Apr 13 2006
We have found this remedy very effective in a severe case of the influenza. Couple of doses of 200 c potency cured the patient. Gopal Pandey
MRS R Jones   Fri Jun 13 2008
do you know of any where i can purchase Wild Indigo? Metabolic sell it but i cannot find their number Thank you R F Jones
dr, mrinmoy sasmal   Tue Nov 17 2009
it is agood medicine in treating typhoid
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Subject : Baptisia tinctoria  

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