This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
Visit for links to my other botanical web pages.
This month's genus:
Amorpha fruticosa (False indigo), developing inflorescences. Spring 2002, Squantum Point Park, Quincy, MA.
Photo taken by J. Forman. May not be used without permission.
Number of Species: at least 12
Root: From the Greek meaning "shapeless"
Species in the genus Amorpha have flowers that are unlike those of the typical leguminous plant. They are bell-shaped
and grow in tight racemes, and have stamens that extend beyond the petals. However, the genus does have pinnately compound
leaves typical of other genera in the Fabaceae, such as Robinia and Acacia.
There are several species in this genus that are native to the U.S., each restricted to a small region of the country.
The exception to this would be A. fruticosa, an invasive plant that has spread across America and through Central
and Southern Europe.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Amorpha species:
- Read more about the invasive
A. fruticosa from the Washington State Dept. of Ecology.
- See a photo and description of A. californica from the
Las Palitas native plant nursery. This species is the only food eaten by the caterpillars of the
California dogface butterfly
(Colias eurydice), the official butterfly of the state of California.
- Click here to see photos and a description of
- You can read about the prarie plant A. canescens and see photos from
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
Current Genus of the Week
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