Friday, June 19, 2015
Florida Coastal Indigo - Indigofera miniata var. floridana
As it's name implies, this tends to be a procumbent species. It is a perennial herb (1-2 feet tall) that spreads out across the ground - growing as a clump that may reach several feet across. The stems and leaflets are covered with silvery hairs and the leaflets normally number from 5-7 per leaf. Blooming can occur in every month. The carmine red blooms are quite attractive with a broad standard that can measure nearly 1/4 inch long. The flowers are mostly bee pollinated.
Indigos are so named because they have been used as dye plants throughout the world. They also are in the bean family and are used as larval plants for several species of native butterflies, in particular the ceraunus blue and Zarucco duskywing. Florida coastal indigo is not difficult to maintain in the landscape and makes an attractive and useful ground cover. Despite its usefulness/attractiveness, however, it is not currently offered for sale by any of the nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.