Distinguished by their stately postures, these long-lived Legume family members grow wild in the eastern and southern regions of this country. A handsome mass of leaflets grouped in threes and erect, branching stems hosts showy spires adorned with small, sweet-pealike blooms. Later, large brownish black, papery seed pods form, which bring captivating visual accents, and even rattling sounds to arrangements. Easily cultivated in well drained sites, Baptisias tolerate poor, sandy soils and some drought, but resent having their roots disturbed.
An elite member of Mt. Cuba Center’s top-10 Baptisia line-up, this high-performing 1996 introduction originated at N.C. Botanical Garden as a chance seedling between Baptisia minor var. aberrans and Baptisia alba. Dapper clover-style gray-green leaves clothe the ultravigorous inky-green stems that hoist a slew of enormous upright 15 in. racemes loaded with Lupine-like smoky-violet flowers. A butterfly’s destination and a floral designer’s delight, ‘Purple Smoke’s easygoing, water-thrifty habit can be planted alone or in small swaths, furnishing decorative cylindrical seed pods plus a striking vertical element amid Amsonia hubrichtii and Sorghastrum ‘Indian Steel’.
Blooms late May–June
Size: 3' 0" – 4-1/3' high x 3' 0" – 4' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 4.
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