Amorpha Species, Bastard Indigo, False Indigo, River Locust

Amorpha fruticosa

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Amorpha (a-MOR-fa) (Info)
Species: fruticosa (froo-tih-KOH-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Amorpha angustifolia
Synonym:Amorpha arizonica
Synonym:Amorpha bushii
Synonym:Amorpha croceolanata
Synonym:Amorpha fragrans



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)

USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama

Opelika, Alabama

Huntington, Arkansas

Morrilton, Arkansas

Long Beach, California

Ventura, California

Delta, Colorado

Crawfordville, Florida

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lake City, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Orange City, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Hull, Georgia

Lisle, Illinois

Calvert City, Kentucky

Prospect, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Buckfield, Maine

Belton, Missouri

Lincoln, Nebraska

Buffalo, New York

Manorville, New York

Staten Island, New York

Marshall, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Bowling Green, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Alvord, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Belton, Texas

Cibolo, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas(3 reports)

Garland, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Leesburg, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 18, 2017, lightyellow from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL wrote:

Very interested in this plant since it is a host plant for a few butterfly species. If anyone has seeds/plants from a Southern population to share let me know c:

This is native to Florida, all the way down to South Florida so I do not think "8b" is its zone limit, some populations clearly are more heat adapted.


On Aug 2, 2016, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

Even though it is native to all of Illinois and southeast PA, both where I have dwelt for years I have not seen it wild by itself. I have seen some at prairie restorations and at arboretums. It has a large native range of: around Los Angeles, spots in AR & NM, central Colorado to southern New England, and far south Manitoba to southeast Texas to central Florida in bogs, swamps, bottomlands, dunes, shores, meadows and prairies. It lives in both dry to wet soils, but is not tolerant of much shade. Its fibrous, shallow root system does ground sucker some, but like other legumes, it fixes nitrogen into the soil. It is weak-wooded. Grows medium to fast. Not for a refined landscape, but for an informal or naturalistic one.


On Mar 1, 2015, OMcGehee from Palmyra, VA wrote:

Here in Virginia, the Virginia Quail Recovery Initiative recommends Indigo Bush as one good species to include when you are planting thickets to improve quail habitat. It is considered good brushy escape cover (to escape from hawks and eagles) and it produces seeds that are nutritious for quail. I have planted a lot of bare root seedlings and had a good survival rate through the first year. I am planting thickets that have about 1,500 square feet of Indigo Bush seedlings and about the same area in wild American plum seedlings. I plant the thickets close to thinned timberland, old fields or other early successional habitat. They say that when planning Indigo Bush shrubs for quail, early pruning is helpful to make the plant spread. It is native to my part of Virginia and a state ecologist sa... read more


On Feb 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Banned as a noxious weed or invasive in two states. Amorpha canescens is a possible substitute which is nowhere invasive of natural habitat.

This forms monocultures on shoreline sites, where seeds are spread by water. The Charles River in Boston is lined with it, where it's defeated all attempts to control it.


On Jul 14, 2013, GardenDolly from Orange City, FL wrote:

I have had a False Indigo bush in my front yard (zone 9B) for five years or more. It grows readily in plain, Florida sand, blooms reliably, and attracts several varieties of butterflies. I have been rewarded with crowds of little Gray hairstreaks, for which it is a host plant. What a joy! I have only good things to say about this delightful plant. Plant Dolly in Orange City FL


On Jul 7, 2013, Jolanda40 from Amsterdam,
Netherlands wrote:

Im my zone 8 garden in Holland this is a nice shrub (1,5 meter, 3 years after sowing). Leaves late to emerge, but the foliage is very nice and the flowers are small but stand out. Dark purple with orange tips. Never seen a catterpillar here on it, but bees drown in it. Gave some seedlings to friends for container-gardening and those are doing well too. (although staying smaller) Not my intention to create an invasion of this in the Netherlands ;-) it seems to behave well here.


On Jul 12, 2012, kbschmida from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

I grew plants in Tallahassee, FL from seed collected near the Chipola river in Marianna (Jackson County) FL. They are slow-growing, but have very attractive form, and the flowers are of a dark purple color you rarely see. This is one of the few natives I have grown from seed that really works well as an ornamental. Mine are full of Silver-Spotted Skipper caterpillars, which make shelters from the leaflets, and come out at night to feed.


On Feb 17, 2009, grrrlgeek from Grayslake, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Class B noxious weed in Washington, banned in Connecticut


On Apr 8, 2008, debnes_dfw_tx from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

A good DG friend gave me one of these plants last year and I loved it so much I bought several more. I knew they were a host plant for Southern Dogface and Silver-spotted Skipper butterflies. Happily, I was able to raise a brood of the Skippers. Hopefully will get the Dogface this year.
The blooms are beginning to emerge now in early April and they are so amazing to watch developing! I get the name of them now A-MORPH-a... fruiticosa. Just as fascinating as the butterflies they support.


On Nov 22, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Indigo Bush, False Indigo, Bastard Indigo, River Locust Amorpha fruticosa is native to Texas and other States.


On Jun 24, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I grew these trees from seeds that a friend gave me. They germinated easily, but have been fairly slow growing. I have some of the trees in sun and some in shade. Those in sun are tallest, but still only about 6 ft tall after about 3 years of growth. I prune them regularly to keep them into a compact shape. They have a nice, light, "feathery" leaf structure, somewhat similar to a Mimosa or Cassia in leaf shape and position. The flowers are similar to Bottle Brush (Callistemon) flowers, but greatly reduced in size. The color combination of the flowers, very dark purple with a pin head sized tip of nearly fluorescent orange, is very striking!


On Sep 2, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a shrub that can grow as tall as 20 feet in height and its width is typically twice its height.Usually in urban conditions stays around 10 to 12 feet.The branches are firm and woody and the twigs are green and hairy.The leaves have 13 to 25 leaflets each.The leaflets are 1 to 2 inches long,resinous,dotted and hairy and are medium green. The fragrant,deep purple spikes with orange center flowers bloom June through July.The fruit is about 1/4 inch long, green and turns to brown,and contains 2 seeds each.