Indigofera tetrasperma is a suberect, much-branched shrub with long, firm, slender branches; it can grow 30 - 100cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine
West tropical Africa - Senegal to southern Mali and Togo
Grassland; roadsides; waste places; savannah and esobe, often with Imperata; cultivations; coastal area[
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 is often confused with Indigofera simplicifolia, but differs in its hairs on the upper surface of leaf which are dense, set at an angle of 80-90° with the midrid[
We have seen no specific information for this species, but most members of the genus have 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 plant is mashed up and put in rum to act as a purgative[
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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