Monographs Details: Baptisia australis var. australis
Authority: Isely, Duane. 1981. Leguminosae of the United States. III. Subfamily Papilionoideae: tribes Sophoreae, Podalyrieae, Loteae. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 25 (3): 1-264.
Description:Distribution and Ecology - Range as given in key; also cult ornamental in ne states, and abroad.7 Open woodland, moist soil and gravel bars along rivers, roadside ditches and meadows; less frequently in dry sterile soil, cedar barrens; infrequent and sporadic in most of range. May-June.
Discussion:Pods of Baptisia australis vars australis and minor are commonly strikingly different, and evolutionary divergence is supported by differences in vigor, habit, and leaflet size as described in the key. The two groups are geographically separate and occupy different floristic provinces. I would probably follow Larisey (1939, 1940a) in defining these taxa as two species were it not for the confounding existence of intermediate plants. The most difficult to classify are some of central North Carolina, B. minor var aberrans of Larisey (1940a), that have the pods and sometimes the vegetative characters of the western var minor. Collections at NCU show that vars australis and minor are not morphologically discrete. The plants that are least robust and resemble var minor seemingly come from sterile habitats, and the type locality of var aberrans (fide Turner 4694B, TEX) is a cedar glade. But plants lacking ideal var australis pods occur sporadically through the range of that variety, and are not geographically discrete as portrayed by Larisey (1940a). Var minor of the central states occasionally has the more cylindric pods associated with var australis.
Var australis is seemingly an uncommon plant through most of its considerable range. Many of the relatively few specimens are quite old; only from north-central North Carolina, have contiguous, modern collections been made.