Baptisia, from bapto, to dye: in allusion to the economical properties of some species. A blue dye is extracted from the leaves.
Baptisia australis was formerly Sophora australis, and is commonly called by that name. The genus Sophora has been much altered, and now consists chiefly of fine trees. It contains, however, two species of ornamental herbaceous plants. S.flavescens, with yellow flowers, a native of Siberia, and S, alepechroides, with blue flowers, from the Levant; the former two, the last four, feet high.
Baptisia australis is considered a handsome border flower of the easiest culture, exceedingly hardy and indigenous to some parts of North America. It produces its blue flowers in terminal spiked racemes in June. Leaves ternate stalked; leaflet cuneate lanceolate; stipules longer than the stalk, lanceolate. A variety has white flowers; another with brown and yellow.