Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Amorpha fruticosa L.f.

Fully-hardy, fast-growing, spreading shrub with 30cm long leaves composed of up to 33 leaflets, and orange- or yellow-anthered, purple-blue flowers in narrow racemes in summer.  To 5m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Paxton’s and Johnson’s Dictionary recognise four garden varieties: angustifolia, narrow-leaved; caerulea, blue-flowered; emarginata, emarginate-leaved; and microphylla, small-leaved, while the RHSD (First edition - 1951) commented that ‘there are many so-called varieties not worth mentioning.’  Introduced to Britain in 1724.  [JD]. 

‘The present species belongs to Carolina and Florida, where it is known by the name of ” Wild Indigo;” an inferior kind of blue dye having been formerly made by the inhabitants from the young shoots.  Introduced in 1724, by Mr. Mark Catesby.  The drawing was taken this summer, at the nursery of Messrs. Colville, in the King’s Road, Chelsea.  It is cultivated in the open ground, and flowers about June in favourable seasons.’  [BR f.427/1820].  Saint-Hilaire Tr. pl.11/1825.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.50/1843].


Amorpha fruticosa Torr. (1859) = Amorpha californica Nutt.

Amorpha fruticosa Thunb. (1784) = Cladrastis amurensis Benth. ex Maxim.

Published Nov 22, 2009 - 01:37 PM | Last updated Jul 18, 2010 - 04:43 PM

Shown are pinnate leaves and a terminal raceme of purple flowers with prominent yellow anthers.  Saint-Hilaire Tr. pl.11, 1825.

Amorpha fruticosa L. | Saint-Hilaire Tr. pl.11/1825 | BHL

Family Fabaceae
Region of origin

North America

  • Amorpha fruticosa var. typica C.K.Schneid. 
Common Name

Bastard indigo

Name in the Camden Park Record

Amorpha fruticosa 

Confidence level high