Indigofera cordifolia is a herbaceous, annual to perennial plant with prostrate to ascending branches; it can grow 10 - 30cm tall[
In times of need, the plant is harvested from the wild for its seed which are an emergency source of food[
Africa- Cape Verde, Mauritania to Ethiopia; Arabian Peninsula - Yemen, Oman; Asia - Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Indonesia (Java); northern Australia
Beaches, Pandanus-vegetation, grassfields; at elevations from sea level to 150 metres[
Indigofera species generally grow best in a sunny position, preferring a well-drained but moist soil[
]. Many of the species will also succeed in drier conditions and in poor soils.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Seeds. Ground into powder and eaten in times of food shortage when nothing better is available[
Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[
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