Baptisia tinctoria is a perennial herb to 1 m tall, from a thick rhizome, stem freely branched.
Leaves alternate, 3-parted, leaflets 1-3 cm long, egg-shaped, tip rounded to notched.
Flowers yellow to 0.8-1.3 cm long, pea-flower-shaped, in numerous short, unbranched clusters at tips of branches, blooming June-July.
Fruit dry, pods inflated to flattened, tip beaked, 0.8-1.5 cm long, 0.6-0.8 cm wide, dry pods persistent on thin, straggling winter plant, rattling when moved, leaves black when dead; dry stem tending to fall over or break off, acting as a tumble-weed to disperse seeds in winter.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Dry, open areas, sandy soil.