It’s hard to see or describe what’s going on inside an Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus schottii) flower. Probably because it’s hidden inside the keel of the flower. But you’ll definitely notice the bright orange anthers sticking out against the deep blue/purple of the petals.

Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus schottii) flower color

Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus schottii) flower color

Detailed technical description of Indigo Bush

The online Jepson Herbarium provides a cursorial description. Surprisingly, the New York Botanic Garden website contains an article with a fantastic and technical description of Psorothamnus schottii. Though I, personally, still can’t make heads or tails of it—at least, not without a glossary nearby! And even then…

In trying to figure out what’s going on the inside of this little flower, we had to expand our search to the entire pea (Fabaceae) family. If you’re interested, here’s a valuable resource with pictures, including the reproductive organs. Generally, Fabaceae flowers contain 10 stamens (the male organ) and a simple pistil (female organ) comprising a single style and stigma. (If you look at the picture below, it’s the little green tip poking out from the keel).

Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus schottii) flower with the style peeking through

Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus schottii) flower with the style peeking through

According to Barneby, the androecium contains filaments (the long stalk part of the stamen under then anther) free for half their length. This suggests that the filaments fuse for half their length (at the bottom, if my pictures are accurate). Which is in line with other flowers in the Fabaceae family.

And what the heck is anther-connective gland-tipped vs glandless???

Main attributes of Psorothamnus schottii flowers

So, the main attributes to keep in mind for Indigo Bush flowers are:

  • 5 deep blue petals
    • The banner (back) with a yellow eye at the base
    • Wings on either side that are slightly longer than the banner
    • Keel (2 petals), which encapsulates the androecium and pistil, that is slightly longer or shorter than the wings
  • The unique venation pattern on the petals
  • The androecium consisting of stamens with orange anthers on white filaments
  • A simple pistil with two ovules (which are not visible)
  • Obconic hypanthium – a structure where basal portions of the calyx, the corolla, and the stamens form a cup-shaped tube. From the Hypanthium article on Wikipedia
Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus schottii) yellow eye at base of banner

Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus schottii) yellow eye at base of banner