by Carl Strang
Most prairie plants are readily found in winter. After all, where is a prairie plant going to go? Well, there are exceptions, and the white wild indigo is one of them. By mid-January their tops are gone from where they grew, the result of an active abscission process that releases them from the persistent roots.
Those flowers produce seed pods which remain attached, and it is thought that when the plant top comes loose it can be blown over the ground and scatter seeds from the split pods. As the plant senesces in autumn, it becomes an unusual blue-gray color.
The color change is progressive, the leaves first turning a peculiar shade of green.
White wild indigo is a most unusual and remarkable legume.