Herb: False Indigo

Latin name: Amorpha fruticosa

Family: Leguminosae

Edible parts of False Indigo:

The crushed fruit is used as a condiment.

Description of the plant:


4.5 m
(15 feet)



Habitat of the herb:

River banks, rich moist thickets etc. Grows chiefly in limestone soils.

Other uses of False Indigo:

Plants have an extensive root system and are also fairly wind tolerant, they can be planted as a windbreak and also to prevent soil erosion. Resinous pustules on the plant contain "amorpha", a contact and stomachic insecticide that also acts as an insect repellent. The stems are used as bedding. The plant contains some indigo pigment and can be used to make a blue dye. Unfortunately, the pigment is only present in very small quantities, there is not enough to harvest commercially.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 2 months at 20C. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June/July in a frame. High percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, autumn, in a sheltered position outdoors. Takes 12 months. Suckers in spring just before new growth begins. Layering in spring .

Cultivation of False Indigo:

River banks, rich moist thickets etc. Grows chiefly in limestone soils.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Amorpha fruticosa:

The plant is said to contain alkaloids and be poisonous to livestock.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.