Thermopsis villosa syn caroliniana (Blue-Ridge Buckbean, Carolina golden banner, Carolina bush pea, Aaron’s rod). Seeds from Prairie Moon had a very nice germination rate (they arrive scarified). They came with a Thermopsis inoculum (which is the same as for Baptisia inoculum, perhaps indicating their genetic proximity). Thirty day cold-moist stratification. Scarify with sandpaper or by pouring boiling water and let sit overnight.

This plant brings happiness to my heart.

Our Thermopsis flowered for the first time in the garden this Spring. I have saved seeds, and am nervous because that means I (may) need to scarify them myself. The Prairie Moon accession, I sowed in flats in February, and was pleased to see them germinate in March or so. After that, I ran out of time, so they were largely on their own until yesterday, October 28. Of the ones that made it the first month, there was zero loss.

I may go ahead and sow the collected seeds (“Megadiverse” accession? -not yet) now, to see if I can circumvent scarification.

10282017 thermopsis 2
The distinct leaflets-of-three can be seen towards the top left. These will be interplanted in a perennial bed with Scrophularia marilandica (figwort) and Scutellaria lateriflora (skullcap).
thermopsis 3
Here can be seen the delicate pink nodules, which host an invasive symbiotic rhizobium that acts to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it to a form that the plant is able to take in.
10282017 thermopsis 1
This will be next year’s growth.


Chapin (2009).

thermopsis distribution

The above map from Weakley (2015) indicates that Thermopsis is endemic to a small portion of Appalachia. It’s southerly reach indicates to me that it may thrive in our climate zone, 7A. A goal of mine (really a quest) is to locate a naturally-occurring population of this plant in Rockingham County, thus indicating that it’s reach is a bit more easterly than determined.
Source:  Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2015. Taxonomic Data Center. ( Chapel Hill, N.C


2 thoughts on “Thermopsis”

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