Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Scarlet Pea, Texas Indigo
Indigofera miniata

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Indigofera (in-dee-GO-fer-uh) (Info)
Species: miniata (min-ee-AH-tuh) (Info)

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #1 of Indigofera miniata by Jeff_Beck

By htop
Thumbnail #2 of Indigofera miniata by htop

By htop
Thumbnail #3 of Indigofera miniata by htop

By htop
Thumbnail #4 of Indigofera miniata by htop

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #5 of Indigofera miniata by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #6 of Indigofera miniata by Jeff_Beck

By htop
Thumbnail #7 of Indigofera miniata by htop

There are a total of 8 photos.
Click here to view them all!


1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive htop On Jul 26, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Another common name for this deciduous native plant is butterfly shoestring-pea. It is a prostrate (.3 to 1.0 feet) legume with trailing, spreading stems that arise from from a woody base and a large tuberous root. The stems run mostly along the ground and are between 4 and 30 inches long. It usually forms a mat of vegetation and sometimes forms colonies. The soft, small leaves are divided into 5-9 leaflets and are covered with very fine hairs. The pea-shaped, 3/4 inch, deep pink to pale scarlet blooms occur from April through September in clusters with the blooms forming a rough circle. Forming from July through Septmber, the approximately 1.5 inch long seedpods are straight or somewhat angled. The seed germination rate is low as well as rate of establishment through cuttings and rate of success of transplant establishment. It is recommended that it be started from seeds.

It is tolerant of sandy soils and various ranges of soil fertility; however, the soil must be well-drained. It will grow in neutral to slightly alkaline soils, but it performs best in soils with a neutral PH. Usually found in soil that is not over 12 inches deep, it adapts to a wide range of soil depths. It is commonly found on prairies, woodlands and along creeks. In Texas, it grows in the Pineywoods, Gulf Prairies and Marshes, Blackland Prairie, Post Oak Savannah, South Texas Plains, Edwards Plateau and the Rolling Plains regions. Being a legume, it has a high nitrogen fixation potential which means it is useful for adding nitrogen to the soil.

In addition, it is an excellent plant to use for erosion control. It is eaten by wildlife (is a good deer browse) and livestock including cattle, sheep, goats and horses. As a small mammal cover, it is also valuable. It is a larval host for butterflies including the Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis), False Duskywing (Gesta invisa), Ceraunus Blue, Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius) and Reakirt's Blue (Echinargus isola).

I do not know if the photos I posted are Indigofera miniata or one of its varieties because I have been unable to locate information by which I am able to compare them. The specimen was growing in sandy soil east of Seguin, Texas. In Texas, there are at least 2 other types which are Indigofera miniata var. leptosepala (western indigo) and Indigofera miniata var. texana (Texas indigo).


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Austin, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (3 reports)

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