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Genus Indigofera Family Fabaceae
Subfamily Faboideae

Description: Annual or perennial herbs or shrubs; hairs typically 2-branched, occasionally multicellular and gland-tipped.

Leaves alternate, simple, [1- or 3-foliolate] or imparipinnate with 5-many leaflets; leaflets entire, usually opposite; stipules present, sometimes spinescent.

Inflorescences axillary racemes. Calyx teeth subequal or the lowermost longer. Corolla red, pink or purple. Stamens diadelphous; anthers apiculate. Ovary usually pubescent; style glabrous, stigma capitate; ovules 1, 2 or numerous.

Pods globose to linear and terete; mostly several-seeded, seeds separated by outgrowths of the endocarp.


Illustration
L. Elkan

Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: >700 spp., trop. & subtrop. regions. Aust.: c. 40 spp. (mostly endemic, 8 spp. naturalized), all mainland States.

Text by Peter G. Wilson
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaves simple2
Leaves compound, sometimes appearing simple through loss of leaflets3
2Pods globose; inflorescences ≤1 cm longIndigofera linifolia
Pods ± linear and terete; inflorescences 1.5–3 cm long
                       Back to 1
Indigofera triflora
3Leaflets alternate on the rachis; stipules lanceolate with scarious margins4
Leaflets usually opposite; stipules linear to triangular, margins not scarious, sometimes spinescent
                       Back to 1
5
4Pod short, usually <10 mm long; seeds usually 2; inflorescence usually ≤20 mm longIndigofera linnaei
Pod 10–18 mm long; seeds 4–8; inflorescence ≥30 mm long
                       Back to 3
Indigofera spicata
5Pods bearing relatively long stiff hairs or erect gland-tipped hairs6
Pods tomentose, appressed-hairy, or ± glabrous
                       Back to 3
7
6Pods deflexed, covered with stiff, spreading hairsIndigofera hirsuta
Pods not deflexed, bearing erect gland-tipped hairs amongst the appressed hairs
                       Back to 5
Indigofera colutea
7Pods ± glabrous or with scattered, appressed hairs8
Pods densely appressed-hairy, or tomentose
                       Back to 5
15
8Stipules 4–7 mm long, persistent and spinescentIndigofera helmsii
Stipules ≤4 mm long, never spinescent, sometimes persistent
                       Back to 7
9
9Leaves often appearing simple through loss of leaflets; leaflets, when present, ≤5 mm long10
Leaflets persistent, ≥5 mm long
                       Back to 8
11
10Plant whitish in appearance; leaves with 5–9 leafletsIndigofera efoliata
Plant green in appearance; leaves with 9–23 leaflets
                       Back to 9
Indigofera adesmiifolia
11Branchlets white with a dense tomentumIndigofera coronillifolia
Branchlets greyish with appressed hairs or ± glabrous
                       Back to 9
12
12Plants shrubby, at least 1 m high13
Plants arising from underground rootstocks or rhizomes, usually <1 m high
                       Back to 11
14
13Plants dark green in appearance; hairs on calyx dark brown, hairs on back of standard whiteIndigofera australis
Plants grey in appearance; hairs on calyx and back of standard usually golden-brown
                       Back to 12
Indigofera brevidens
14Aerial stems weak and slender; flowers 4–7 mm longIndigofera baileyi
Aerial stems woody; flowers 14–17 mm long
                       Back to 12
Indigofera decora
15Leaves grey-green; inflorescences at least twice as long as the leavesIndigofera psammophila
Leaves grey or white with dense hairs; inflorescences less than twice as long as the leaves
                       Back to 7
16
16Leaves white; leaflets 9–13; inflorescences 3–6 cm longIndigofera leucotricha
Leaves grey; leaflets 15–21; inflorescences 6–16 cm long
                       Back to 15
Indigofera longibractea

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