Indigofera macrophylla is a scrambling or climbing shrub with stems 2 - 10 metres long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of soap.
West tropical Africa - Senegal to Cameroon, Congo and Central African Republic
Humid or swampy sites, margins of evergreeen forest, gallery and secondary forests[
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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.
Unlike most species in this genus, this taxon does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[
The bark is used medicinally[
The leaves and young stems are used in the treatment of a range of conditions including diarrhoea and dysentery, whooping cough, bronchitis, piles, ulcers, enlargement of the spleen and liver, skin diseases[
A decoction of the leaves, combined with the leaves of Rauvolfia vomitoria, the leaves of Cajanus cajan and the whole plant of Olyra latifolia, is drunk in order to induce labour and ensure safe delivery of the baby for women. When cooled, the same decoction is used as a remedy against smallpox[
The bark is rich in saponins and produces an abundance of foam when crushed and whisked in water[
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.
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