Baptisia sphaerocarpa 'Screamin' Yellow'
Common Name: yellow wild indigo 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Fabaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Tolerates drought and poor soils. Over time, plants form slowly expanding clumps with deep and extensive root systems, and should not be disturbed once established. Difficult to grow from seed and slow to establish. Plants take on more of a shrubby appearance and tend to open up after bloom. Trimming or shearing foliage after bloom helps maintain rounded plant appearance and obviates any need for staking, but eliminates some of the developing seed pods which are so attractive.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Baptisia sphaerocarpa, commonly called false indigo (or yellow wild indigo) is an upright, mounded perennial that typically grows 2-3’ tall. It features small, yellow, pea-like flowers (to 1/2” long) in erect racemes (to 12-15”) atop yellowish-green flower stems extending well above a foliage mound of clover-like, trifoliate, blue-green leaves (leaflets to 2” long). Blooms in spring. Flowers give way to inflated spherical seed pods (to 3/4” diameter) that turn tan to brown when ripe and have considerable ornamental interest. Stems with seed pods are valued additions to dried flower arrangements. Steyermark reports that this species is unique among the species of Baptisia found in Missouri by having leaves on the smaller branches with only 1-2 leaflets. The current range of this species appears to be Louisiana to Texas north to Missouri and Oklahoma, however it is not clear that it is indigenous to all of these areas. This plant was apparently introduced a number of years ago into certain prairie areas and along certain railroad tracks in five Missouri counties, and accordingly is not considered to be a native Missouri taxon (Steyermark).

The genus name Baptisia comes from the Greek word bapto meaning "to dye".

Specific epithet means with rounded fruit.

'Screamin' Yellow' is particularly noted for its profuse bloom. It typically grows to 2-3' tall with a mature spread to 5' wide. Showy, pea-like, bright yellow flowers in erect racemes (to 12-15" tall) bloom in late April-May atop yellow-green flower stems that rise well above a foliage mound of clover-like green (perhaps tinged with yellow) leaves (leaflets to 2" long).


No serious insect or disease problems. Sensitive to juglone. Tends to perform poorly when planted close to black walnut trees.


Borders, cottage gardens, prairies, meadows and native plant gardens. Effective in naturalized settings. Best as a specimen or in small groups.