Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Clusterspike Indigo-bush - Amorpha herbacea   Walter
Members of Fabaceae:
Members of Amorpha with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Fabales » Family Fabaceae
DistributionThroughout the southern 60% of the Coastal Plain, north to Wake and Beaufort counties. There are scattered records for the southern tier of counties in the Piedmont, and one for the Mountains (if native there).

A southern Atlantic Coast endemic, ranging north to eastern and southern NC, and south to southern FL. It does not occur into AL.
AbundanceFrequent to common, at least locally, in the Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) portions of the range, north to the Sandhills and Croatan National Forest. Farther north, infrequent to fairly common, to Johnston County. Rare in the southern Piedmont, and very rare in the Mountains (accidental or gone now?).
HabitatThis indigo-bush favors drier and sandier soil than do the others found in the Coastal Plain. It favors mesic pine flatwoods, but it ranges into upland pine sandhills (though not where overly sandy), and it does occur in wetter flatwoods. It can be found with both A. confusa and with A. georgiana, though the latter two favor more moist conditions. It can tolerate more fire-suppressed pine stands than can other indigo-bushes.
PhenologyBlooms from May to July, and fruits from July to October.
IdentificationThis is a low-growing deciduous shrub, ranging normally just 1-2 feet tall. It has 11-37 small leaflets, each mainly just 2/3-3/4-inch long. This species is noticeably glaucous or “hoary”, and the leaflets are somewhat downy, pale, and not shiny. Also, the stem is pubescent and white to flesh-colored; A. georgiana and A. confusa can be separated by mostly smooth and brown or gray twigs, and usually darker green and shiny leaflets. When in bloom, this species has pink flowers (ranging from whitish to light purple), less deeply colored than other Amorpha species.
Taxonomic CommentsA few references, such as Weakley (2018), list two varieties, but only the nominate one -- A. herbacea var. herbacea -- occurs in NC.

Other Common Name(s)Dwarf Indigo-bush, Clusterspike False Indigo
State RankS4
Global RankG4
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B.A. SorrieCamp Mackall, clearing just W of US 15-501, S of Drowning Creek; 5 June 2010. ScotlandPhoto_natural
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