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Useful Tropical Plants

Indigofera hendecaphylla

Jacq.

Fabaceae


Indigofera hendecaphylla and Indigofera spicata Forssk., used to be considered as the same species and were then named Indigofera spicata. They are now considered to be different species. The literature is therefore confusing, and references to toxicity most probably refer to Indigofera hendecaphylla[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

+ Synonyms

Indigofera anceps Vahl ex Poir.

Indigofera bolusii N.E.Br.

Indigofera endecaphylla Jacq.

Indigofera endecaphylla P. Beauv.

Indigofera endecaphylla Poir.

Indigofera kleinii Wight & Arn.

Indigofera onobrychioides Boivin ex Baill.

Indigofera pectinata Baker

Indigofera stricata Forssk.

Common Name:

Indigofera hendecaphylla
Flowering plant, being grown as a green manure ground cover in a macadamia nut orchard in Hawaii
Photograph by: Forest and Kim Starr
Creative Commons License
Indigofera hendecaphylla Indigofera hendecaphylla Indigofera hendecaphylla

General Information

Indigofera hendecaphylla is a sub-erect shrublet that grows 40 - 100cm tall and gradually becomes prostrate as it grows larger. The stems become creeping, up to 2 metres long and rooting at the nodes, with branches that are ascending. The main root can be 50 - 100cm long and 5 - 10mm wide[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plant is a commonly grown and very popular green manure crop within its native range, especially in Asia, but also in Africa. It is also often cultivated outside its native range, in areas such as Australia and the Americas[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Known Hazards

Some strains of this species have leaves and seeds that are highly hepatotoxic[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The leaves of Indigofera hendecaphylla, possibly only of tetraploid forms originally from Sri Lanka, contain per 100 g dry matter 0.1 - 0.5 g indospicine (2,7-diamino-7-amino-heptanoic acid) while the seeds contain 0.1 - 2 g. Indospicine is a specific antagonist of arginine, interfering with its synthesis and incorporation into proteins and with the synthesis of DNA. Indospicine is highly toxic to chicken, rabbits, pigs, goats, sheep, cattle and horses. In small doses it causes loss of vitality and abortion in cattle and goats. Indospicine is especially dangerous to horses, which relish plants containing it and eat them preferentially[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]..

Botanical References

266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

Tropical Africa - widely distributed, including Madagascar; through tropical Asia to New Guinea.

Habitat

Disturbed grassland; cultivated areas and waste places; at elevations up to 2,700 metres, but most commonly below 700 metres, in Africa[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
328
Title
African Flowering Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/recherche.php
Publisher
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques.
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on over 150,000 plant names (including synonyms) giving a description and habitat, plus a distribution map.
].

Properties

Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitShrub
Height0.50 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Indigofera hendecaphylla is a plant mainly of the tropical lowlands, where it thrives at elevations below 700 metres, though can also be found ascending to about 2,500 metres. It grows best in areas with a mean annual temperature of 16 - 27°c and a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 1,500mm, but may also be found in wetter locations receiving up to 4,000mm[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
In cultivation, the plant is fairly resistant to drought and shade[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Under heavy shade however, such as in old rubber plantations, growth is poor[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It performs best on clay soils, but grows on various soil types, including sandy soils, with a pH of 5.0 - 7.7. It is tolerant of poor, moderately acid, phosphorus-deficient soils[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Soil covers of Indigofera hendecaphylla are notorious for harbouring snakes and leeches[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Seedlings develop a strong taproot which assists in loosening the soil[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
When cuttings are used plant growth remains very low, the cover rarely exceeding 12 cm in height. A fair cover can be formed in 6 months and a continuous even cover in a year from planting[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The plants send out trailing stems which, under favourable conditions, may attain a length of 2 metres, producing numerous adventitious roots at the nodes. As the plants mature they become taller and at 2 years of age they are usually about 30 - 40cm tall. Vigorous regrowth occurs at the start of the rainy season[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Once established, Indigofera hendecaphylla is self-sowing[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
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[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

Indigofera hendecaphylla provides a good soil cover and smothers weeds. In tea estates in Sri Lanka it was the most popular green manure and cover crop. In Indonesia and Peninsular Malaysia it is used as a cover crop in rubber, sisal, oil palm and tea plantations; in Africa in coffee plantations[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Its maximum effect as a green manure is reached when the cover crop is incorporated in the soil when still green and flowering has started. Green manure crops produce 4.5 - 25 tonnes per hectare of green material. In trials in Indonesia Indigofera hendecaphylla has produced a green matter yield of 3.0 tonnes per hectare 3 months after planting, containing 10 kg nitrogen and 3 kg phosphorus. After 6 months the green matter yield was 18 tonnes, containing 86 kg nitrogen and 21 kg phosphorus[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
A cover crop of Indigofera hendecaphylla controls erosion effectively on hilly and undulating land even under heavy rainfall, and is considered more effective than Clitoria ternatea. Few weeds, except some grasses, can grow through this cover and, once established, a reduction in weeding costs may be anticipated. Weeds such as Mikania spp. and Convolvulus spp. can cause some trouble[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and 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. To obtain a good distribution of the seed it is mixed with sand or filtered dry soil at a ratio of seed to sand of 1 : 4 before sowing. If planted in rows 60cm apart the seed rate is about 3.3 kg/ha[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Stem cuttings[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Cuttings of about 20cm long are planted at a spacing of 60cm x 60cm with 5 cuttings per hole[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

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