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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare plants, contact:
Kevin Doyle
608-416-3377

Yellow Wild-indigo (Baptisia tinctoria)

Life history

Species overview

Yellow Wild-indigo (Baptisia tinctoria), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in oak barrens. Blooming occurs late June through late July; fruiting occurs throughout August. The optimal identification period for this species is late June through early August.

Synonyms: Baptisia gibbesii, Baptisia tinctoria var. crebra, Baptisia tinctoria var. projecta

Identification

  • Distinguishing characteristics: Distinguished from B. bracteata by its flowers, which are smaller (less than 2 cm) and usually a brighter yellow.
  • Flower characteristics: Numerous terminal racemes; flowers yellow, 8 to 13 mm long.
  • Fruit characteristics: Pods 8 to 15 mm x 6 to 8 mm, lentil- or globe shaped.
  • Leaf characteristics: Leaflets 3, approximately 1 cm long, wedge-shaped at base, widening to a rounded tip that may be slightly notched; petioles 1 to 3 mm long.

Phenology

  • Blooming phenology: late June through late July
  • Fruiting phenology: throughout August
  • Optimum time to identify: late June through early August

Other

  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Quercus velutina, Talinum rugospermum, Lespedeza capitata, Amorpha canescens, Tephrosia virginiana, Euphorbia corollata, Eragrostis spectabilis, Helianthemum canadense.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Yellow Wild-indigo (Baptisia tinctoria). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Baptisia tinctoria in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.


Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in oak barrens.
  • Soils: Dry, sterile or sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Yellow Wild-indigo. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Oak Barrens 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Yellow Wild-indigo. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Yellow Wild-indigo (Baptisia tinctoria) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or NHI Botanist for specific recommendations for your site.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid locating landings, staging areas, or access routes in open sandy areas dominated by native grasses.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).
  • Maintain low canopy cover areas for savanna and barrens plant species.

Photos


Yellow Wild-indigo  Photo.

Baptisia tinctoria

Photo © Suzan Campbell.

Yellow Wild-indigo  Photo.

Baptisia tinctoria

Photo © Suzan Campbell.

Yellow Wild-indigo  Photo.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium

Yellow Wild-indigo  Photo.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium


Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Monday, April 30, 2018
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