Sphaeridiophorum abyssinicum Jaub. & Spach
Hedysarum linifolium L.f.
Indigofera albicans Span
Indigofera polygonoides Wendl.
Indigofera roxburghii Tausch
Sphaeridiophorum linifolium (L.f.) Desv.
Indigofera linifolia is an erect to prostrate, sometimes annual but more commonly perennial plant producing many branched stems from the base; it can grow 15 - 100cm tall. The stems can become more or less woody, especially near the base, and persist[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. It is considered a famine food, harvested from the wild for local use in times of need.
Indigofera linifolia has a large geographical distribution and is not considered to be specifically threatened or in decline. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
The plant is said to be highly poisonous[
Northeastern tropical Africa - Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan, s.China, Indian subcontinent, tropical Asia to Australia
Dry grassland, bushland; at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
]. Grasslands, savannah, cultivated grounds, sandy roadsides, beaches, open grassy deciduous forest[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
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.
The plant is considered to be an agricultural weed[
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.
]. In times of famine the seeds are ground into a powder and eaten as a bread, either on its own or in combinations with a cereal such as millet[
The globular seedpod is around 1.5 - 2mm in diameter, containing a single, brown-black, globular seed around 1.5mm in diameter[
The plant (part not specified) is used in the treatment of febrile eruptions[
Combined with Euphorbia thymifolia, the plant is used in the treatment of amenorrhoea[
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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