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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 (9 fused ± 1 free); anthers apiculate. Ovary usually pubescent; style glabrous, stigma capitate; ovules 1, 2 or numerous.

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

L. Elkan

Distribution and occurrence: World: >700 spp., trop. & subtrop. regions. Aust.: over 50 spp. (mostly endemic, 12 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
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
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 straight8
Pods crescent-shaped
                       Back to 5
Indigofera suffruticosa
8Pods ± glabrous or with scattered, appressed hairs9
Pods densely appressed-hairy, or tomentose
                       Back to 7
9Stipules 4–7 mm long, persistent and spinescentIndigofera helmsii
Stipules ≤4 mm long, never spinescent, sometimes persistent
                       Back to 8
10Leaf rachis flattened, 1–4 mm wide; leaves sometimes appearing simple through loss of leaflets11
Leaf rachis ± terete; leaflets persistent
                       Back to 9
11Plant whitish in appearance; leaves with 5–9 leafletsIndigofera efoliata
Plant green in appearance; leaves with 9–23 leaflets
                       Back to 10
Indigofera adesmiifolia
12Branchlets white with a dense tomentumIndigofera coronillifolia
Branchlets greyish with appressed hairs or ± glabrous
                       Back to 10
13Plants shrubby, at least 1 m high14
Plants arising from underground rootstocks or rhizomes, usually <1 m high
                       Back to 12
14Plants 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 13
Indigofera brevidens
15Aerial stems weak and slender; flowers 4–7 mm longIndigofera baileyi
Aerial stems woody; flowers 14–17 mm long
                       Back to 13
Indigofera decora
16Leaves 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 8
17Leaves white; leaflets 9–13; inflorescences 3–6 cm longIndigofera leucotricha
Leaves grey; leaflets 15–21; inflorescences 6–16 cm long
                       Back to 16
Indigofera longibractea

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