Hairy Indigo
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Hairy Indigo
P Native Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Hairy Indigo, Rough hairy indigo • Hindi: अंधी नील Andhi-neel, काली काठी kali kathi • Malayalam: Kattu-tagera • Tamil: Tattaikkarunkollu • Telugu: Kolapattitulu, Peru vempali
Botanical name: Indigofera hirsuta    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Indigofera hirta, Indigofera ferruginea, Indigofera fusca

Hairy Indigo is a spreading shrub, 1-4 ft tall. The name hirsuta comes from the presence of very prominent brown and rusty hairs on the stems. Inflorescences are also hairy, many-flowered spike-like racemes, 20-30 cm long. Flowers are pea-flower-shaped, hairy, red to pink in color, about 4-6 mm in length. The stems are erect, cylindrical and striped, and become woody as the plant matures. The leaves are compound, imparipinnate, 2.5-10 cm long with 5-9 opposite leaflets. Leaflet blades are elliptical to obovate in shape, 4 cm long x 2.5 cm broad. The apical leaflet can be up to 6 cm long x 3 cm broad. Leaflets are hairy on both sides. The fruits are straight, cylindrical dehiscent pods, 1-2 cm long and 1-2.5 mm in diameter. They contain (4-) 6-9 cube-shaped and blotched seeds. Hairy indigo has been used as a green manure and cover crop in tropical plantations such as coffee, tea and rubber in Asia. Hairy Indigo is found in Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Flowering: July-September.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh

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