Perry's Perennial Pages

Baptisia sphaerocarpa 'Screaming Yellow'

    Perennial of the Month-- April 2004 

 (bap-tease' ee-ah sfair-O-car' pah) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name: Screaming Yellow baptisia/ false indigo

Family: Fabaceae, Bean or Pea

Height x width: 3' (to 5' in the south or under ideal conditions) x 3'

Growth rate; habit: slow, upright mound

Foliage: alternate, yellow-green, 3-parted compound leaves, some with stipules (small, leaf-like structures) as leaf bases, leaflets 1 ½" and ovate to oblanceolate; thick stems to ½" across

Flowers: yellow pea-like 1" flowers in spring,  in terminal racemes (spikes) generally 6-9" but up to 12" long; up to 4 weeks bloom late April/early May south or mid-late June north

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-9

Soil: well-drained, prefers deep and rich, tolerates poor and sandy

Light: sun, may tolerate part shade south

Pests and problems: none serious

Landscape habit, uses:  herbaceous shrub in borders, specimen, nice 1-2" blackish pods with seeds rattling inside add nice fall interest

Other interest: species native to southern U.S.(TX, OK, AR); genus name from Greek bapto meaning to dip, refering to past use by early Americans as substitute dye for indigo;  this culivar selected by Larry Lowman, Ridgecrest Nursery, Wynne AR

Other culture: place well as resents transplanting, deeply rooted; may need staking if not in full sun

Propagation: seeds most common, division

Sources: local and mail-order specialty nurseries or complete garden centers, Plant Delights Nursery, New England Wildflower Society

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