This species is closely related to and scarcely distinct from Indigofera prieureana[
Indigofera stenophylla is a stiffly erect, branching annual plant with more or less woody stems; it can grow 40 - 90cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine[
Tropical Africa - Senegal and Liberia, through Niger and Nigeria to southern Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania, avoiding areas of higher rainfall
Short grassland; pathsides; cultivations; rocks; scree; colluvium; lateritic soils; clayey-sandstony soils; fallow land; savannahs; at elevations from 500 - 1,500 metres[
Indigoera 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.
The leaves are diuretic. They are used in the treatment of conditions such as oedema, dropsy, swellings and gout[
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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