Amorpha fruticosa

Common name: Western, Desert or Blue False Indigo, False Indigo Bush, Bastard Indigobush

Amorpha fruticosa goes by many different common names – it is found throughout western North America, and thus goes by: Western, Desert or Blue False Indigo, False Indigo Bush, Bastard Indigobush.

The name “Amorpha” means “without shape” and may refer to the blossoms (they have one single petal, and it looks as if it wraps around the anthers/stamen), or the varying morphology of the entire plant.

I found it growing in many places in San Diego County, and I’ve read that it can grow in dry soil and direct sunlight, though from my own observations, it appears to like areas with more limited direct sunlight hours a bit more, and also prefers spots with more moisture.

Upon close inspection with the macro lens, the blossoms (racemes of many tiny individual flowers) are astonishingly beautiful, and the color combination of green leaves, purple petals and orange anthers is just striking.

Below are some photos. The last image shows the plant in context, at beautiful Cedar Creek Falls, a (very) popular hiking destination in San Diego’s back country – this is one of my favorite images of that place.

On small-screen devices like phones or tablets, you can just scroll down. On larger screens, you may also click on any image to open it in the slideshow gallery view – for the best effect, I suggest switching your browser to full-screen mode (Windows: F11, Mac: ^⌘F).

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4 thoughts on “Amorpha fruticosa”

  1. Such an interesting flower in close-up! I think I may have seen it on a trip to CA, and certainly I’ve heard of it. But this introduction makes me really eager to get to know the plant in person. The flowers are like little kids snuggled in a blanket – corny, I know. The “upside-down” photos is nice, with the leaves in the background – I always like compound leaves, probably for the same reason I like ferns: the regular pattern and structure. And that’s a beautiful shot of the pool and waterfall, with the False Indigo gracing the edge.

    Reply
    • Hehe, you mean the orange anthers are the kids, and the purple petal is the blanket? That’s cute. :) Hopefully one day we’ll be able to travel again normally, then you can come visit SoCal to see “the amorphous shrub” – I’ll be your guide. :)

      Reply

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