Anila hirsuta (L.) Kuntze
Indigofera ferruginea Schum. & Thonn.
Indigofera fusca G.Don
Indigofera hirta Bojer
Indigofera indica Mill.
Indigofera hirsuta is an erect or spreading herbaceous legume growing 60 - 230cm tall, with spreading or ascending branches[
]. More or less annual in habit, the stems can become somewhat woody and persist for more than a year[
The plant is often grown as a ground cover and green manure. It also supplies a dye.
Tropical Africa - Senegal to Sudan, south to Angola, Mozambique and Madagascar; through tropical Asia to northern Australia.
A weed in cultivated and waste areas, in grassland, savannah, dry and deciduous forest, on river banks and beaches, at elevations from sea level to 1,500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the moist tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,350 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 30°c, but can tolerate 13 - 34°c[
]. It is intolerant of frost[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 900 - 1,700mm, but tolerates 750 - 2,700mm[
Succeeds in full sun and in light shade[
]. Grows best in a well-drained, moderately fertile, light to medium textured soil[
]. Tolerant of poor soils, it grows well on moderately poor, sandy soils with a low pH[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 8[
The plant can escape from cultivation and become a weed in arable land[
A summer annual or biennial plant, flowering in the summer and fruiting in October. If cut in August, a second growth may be expected[
]. Total life span for dye crops is 2 - 3 years and 1.5 - 2 years for cover crops[
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[
A decoction made from the leaves is used as a treatment against stomach problems and yaws[
The plant is grown as a cover crop and for soil improvement. It is mixed with grass grown for pasture[
]. It is a valuable green manure and cover crop, used especially in tea, coffee and rubber plantations[
]. It is used especially where erosion control is important[
The leaves are a source of the dye indigo[
Seed - sow in situ[
]. The seed has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up 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[
]. Germination of treated seed takes 7 - 9 days[
]. Early growth of the seedlings is very slow, it can be 6 weeks or more before they are large enough to be able to weed them[
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