Indigofera capitata is a much-branched, erect annual to perennial plant growing from a taproot; it can grow up to 100cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
Tropical Africa - Senegal to Sudan, south to Angola and Zambia
Thin vegetation on shallow soil; ferrugineous plateau; dry ground; hollows; wooded savannah on sand; esobe and savannah on sandy soils[
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.
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 plant is used to relieve pain, treat liver problems etc[
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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