A very large and valuable family of plants, many of them being food-producing. Usually they have papilionaceous flowers, that is, with a standard, keel and wings. The family is divided into three subfamilies containing 53 genera.
A. Wild Lupine.
B. Blue False Indigo.
Wild Or Blue Lupine (Lupinus Perennis) receives its generic name from the Latin of wolf, because it was thought that the species preyed upon the soil and made it infertile for other kinds of plants. It is a very common species in sandy places and we often see it on the banks along railroads. Both the leaves and the flowers are very attractive. The stem is quite stout, erect, hairy and branching. The leaves have long, slender stems; the leaf, proper, is palmate-ly-divided into seven to eleven narrow, smooth-edged leaflets that radiate like the spokes of a wheel; they are rather thin and delicate in structure and at night partly fold together.
The flowers are in long, showy, terminal spikes of pea-like blossoms; they are bright purplish- blue in color; the calyx is two-lipped, sides of the standard reflexed and the keel scythe-shaped. The single pistil developes into an oblong, flattened, knotty pod containing the seeds. Lupine is very common through the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains.
Blue False Indigo (Baptisia Australis) is a tall branching species with a stem from three to six feet in height. The leaves are divided into three spat-ulate-shaped leaflets. The violet-blue flowers grow in long, loose spikes; they are about one inch long, have a four or five-toothed calyx, straight keel and wings, and short standard. The seed-pod has a spur at its tip. This species is common from Pa. to Ga. and west to Mo.
A. Wild Indigo.
Wild Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) is a very branchy and very bushy herb. The stem divides soon after it leaves the ground, the slender branch-lets extending equally in all directions so that the appearance of the whole plant, from a distance, is often that of a large, bluish-green globe. The leaves are three-parted, wedge-shaped, dull green with a white bloom that gives them a bluish-green appearance. The yellow, butterfly-shaped flowers are in loose clusters at the ends of all the branches. They are visited by many of the small butterflies and small bees. After fertilization, the flowers turn blackish.
The roots of Wild Indigo are used by drug concerns for the compounding of a number of medicines. An indigo dye, of a poor quality, can also be made from the plant. Wild Indigo grows in dry or sandy soil from Maine to Minnesota, flowering from June to September.