Eliza Lucas' Indigofera Seeds
Indigofera gerardiana.jpg


Eliza Lucas


Indigofera seeds


Each seed rapidly grows a large quantity of indigofera plants. Grows plants secrete indigo dye endlessly until dead. Seeds are unable to die on their own, and will naturally replenish once the plants they create are dead.


None Identified



Collected by

Warehouse 11







Date of Collection

Era of Warehouse 11


Origin[edit | edit source]

Eliza Lucas Pinckney (December 28, 1722–1793) changed agriculture in colonial South Carolina, where she developed indigo as one of its most important cash crops. Its cultivation and processing as dye produced one-third the total value of the colony's exports before the Revolutionary War. Manager of three plantations, Mrs. Pinckney had a major influence on the colonial economy.

Eliza was various types of seeds for trial on the plantations. She and other planters were eager to find crops for the uplands that could supplement their cultivation of rice. First, she "experimented" with ginger, cotton, and alfalfa. Starting in 1739, she began "experimenting" with cultivating and improving strains of the indigo plant, for which the expanding textile market created demand for its dye. When Col. Lucas sent Eliza indigofera seeds in 1740, she expressed her “greater hopes” for them, as she intended to plant them earlier in the season. In experimenting with growing indigo in new climate and soil, Lucas also made use of knowledge and skills of enslaved Africans who had grown indigo in the West Indies and West Africa.

After three years of persistence and many failed attempts, Eliza proved that indigo could be successfully grown and processed in South Carolina. While she had first worked with an indigo processing expert from Montserrat, she was most successful in processing dye with the expertise of an indigo-maker of African descent whom her father hired from the French West Indies.

Eliza used her 1744 crop to make seed and shared it with other planters, leading to an expansion in indigo production. She proved that colonial planters could make a profit in an extremely competitive market. Due to her successes, the volume of indigo dye exported increased dramatically from 5,000 pounds in 1745-46, to 130,000 pounds by 1748. Indigo became second only to rice as the South Carolina colony's commodity cash crop, and contributed greatly to the wealth of its planters. Before the Revolutionary War, indigo accounted for more than one-third of the total value of exports from the colony.

Effects[edit | edit source]

When planted, the seeds will rapidly grow and mass-produce indigofera plants that will endlessly secrete indigo dye from their petals until dead by any means. The seeds themselves, however, are unable to die of natural reasons.

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