Friday, June 25, 2010

False Indigo

Baptisia Australis, false
indigo its common name,
a kind of memorial to austral
Carolina when darkened hands
tilled and harvested and keened
the fields, fields now fallow,
abandoned to the wildness of forest or
wildness of forest suburban.

False indigo knobs early, small
green stalagmites thrusting like
cigars from the soil before branching
into green stems, stems that splash
purple-blue, turning to pods that dry
and darken, rattling in the wind like
maracas until they rupture an
infant baptism of seed.


Sandra Heska King said...

". . . green stalagmites thrusting like cigars from the soil . . ."

I like that. I love the photo.

Kathleen Overby said...

Never seen it before, but I'd like to, now.

JC Dude said...

Beautiful words and picture...thanks for sharing!

katdish said...

false indigo? I wonder why it's called that. They look like bluebonnets. Beautiful picture and words.

俊源 said...


Maureen said...

Kat's question was my invitation to go look this up.

Apparently, because it was used as a substitute for a "superior" dye-producing plant from the West Indies, it came to be called "blue false indigo".

How Stuff Works says that after going to seed it was planted to produce the dye for colonial Americans. It's been cultivated since 1724.

According to a Wiki entry, the genus name comes from the ancient Greek "bapto" meaning "to dip" or "immerse" and the Latin "australis" meaning "southern". Native Americans are known to have used it for dyeing, to purge (its roots were used in teas); to treat tooth aches and nausea; and as eyewash.

It seems to have a lot going for it.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Maureen -- thank you for saving me from having to look it up!

And Glynn, as always, your words seed my mind with fields of wildflowers blowing in the wind.


S. Etole said...

"infant baptism of seed" ... how very descriptive ... reminds me of the poppies when they go to seed ... a population explosion waiting to happen.

Laura said...

I love how I always learn something when I come poetry too! I've never seen it either, but it is lovely. Thank you for sharing your gardening expertise with us, Glynn.

n. davis rosback said...

if i were to write down my favorite parts of this poem, i would have to copy the whole thing!

woah, man!
cool :-)

wonderful tids and bits all the way through.

and the colour in the so pretty.