Last week I was sorting through some of my old photographs. I came across this one from a couple of years ago on the High Line Garden in Manhattan (Designed by Piet Oudolf).
I had never seen this plant before so it grabbed my attention.
It is called “false indigo” and the latin name is Amorpha fruticosa. (those seed heads! and that foliage!)
After taking this picture, I swore that I would remember this plant and promised to use it in the garden.
But, to be honest, I totally forgot about it until coming across this photograph.
I would like to use it this year but I am reading that it can be weedy. But I also read that it is native to just about every state and province in North America.
So, it is an attractive, native “weed” that is showy enough to make the cut for one of the world’s most popular gardens, the High Line. I think I love it.
Am I the only one who thinks we need to watch our language when we talk about plants? (how dare you call it a weed! 😉)
Amorpha fruticosa naturally grows along stream banks. It is in the legume family and has pinnately compound leaves like a black locust. If left unchecked, a shrub of false indigo could grow 12-15 feet tall. The roots of this plant are also nitrogen fixers (makes sense since it is a legume in the family Fabaceae)
I definitely would like to try growing Amorpha fruticosa because of these attractive, deep purple flowers, but feel that it should be in a location where I can keep a close eye on it. I recall it being so striking and standing out among all of the other plantings on the High Line.
Have you ever grown Amorpha fruticosa? Do you like it and have you found it to be too weedy to keep in the garden?
top image by Rodney Eason, bottom image by Paul Cox via wildflower.org.