Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Piedmont Indigo-bush - Amorpha schwerinii   C. Schneider
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Section 6 » Order Fabales » Family Fabaceae
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AuthorC. Schneider
DistributionStrictly limited to the Piedmont, in the southwestern part of the state; ranges east to Randolph and Anson counties, and west to the base of the Blue Ridge (but not in the Mountains), north to Burke County.

This is a Piedmont endemic species with a small range. It ranges north to west-central NC and south through the SC Piedmont to central GA. More than half of the known counties for it are in NC.
AbundanceGenerally uncommon, but can be frequent to fairly common on some “mountains” in the Uwharries. Rare in foothills counties, though present in most of them north to Burke. Formerly was tracked as Significantly Rare by the NC NHP, but moved to the Watch List now.
HabitatThis species is essentially found in dry to somewhat mesic hardwood forests, typically on slopes and in rocky areas within the forest. At times it can be found along stream banks within the forest, as well as steep bluffs. It may occur on both high pH soils and on more acidic soils.
PhenologyBlooms from April to June, and fruits from June to October.
IdentificationThis is a deciduous shrub that grows to an average of 3-5 feet tall. The 11-29 leaflets are quite hairy beneath and average about 1 inch long. The flowers in the usually singular raceme are generally a rich, deep purple. This shrub can usually be told by its many leaflets, on dry or rocky slopes in the Piedmont region; the somewhat similar Amorpha glabra is a smooth species and usually grows at higher elevations. Beginners might confuse seedling tree species such as Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) as an Amorpha, but the locust has thorns on the stems.
Taxonomic CommentsThe species was often spelled, incorrectly, as Amorpha schwerini, instead of schwerinii.

Other Common Name(s)Schwerin’s False Indigo
State RankS3
Global RankG3G4
State StatusW1
US Status
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