homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner
Indigofera tinctoria - L.
                 
Common Name Indigo, True Indigo, dye indigo
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 5-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known
Range Probably originally from Malaysia, the plant now has a pantropical distribution.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
True Indigo or Indigofera tinctoria is a perennial plant reaching a height of 1-2 m upon maturity. Branches are spreading or ascending and are often woody. The leaves are pinnate. It is one of the major sources of deep blue dye. Medicinally, it is used to treat a wide range of disorders such as epilepsy, nervous disorders, asthma, bronchitis, fever, stomach pain, liver diseases, kidney and spleen diseases, skin conditions, wounds sores, hemorrhoids, gonorrhea, syphilis, snake bites, etc. The plant is also used as cover crop and green manure. It also has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria that form rood nodules and fix atmospheric nitrogen.

Indigofera tinctoria Indigo, True Indigo, dye indigo


http://www.botanicimage.com
Indigofera tinctoria Indigo, True Indigo, dye indigo
http://www.botanicimage.com
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Indigofera tinctoria is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
Anila tinctoria normalis Kuntze Indigofera anil orthocarpa DC. Indigofera bergii Vatke Indigofera ci

Habitats
Edible Uses
The deep blue dye obtained from the leaves is sometimes used to counteract the slightly yellow colour of icing sugar[301 ].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



A leaf infusion (sometimes combined with honey or milk) is used to treat a range of disorders including epilepsy and nervous disorders; asthma and bronchitis; fever; complaints of the stomach, liver, kidney and spleen; and as a rabies prophylactic[299 ]. Applied externally, the leaves are made into an ointment for treating skin diseases, wounds, sores, ulcers and haemorrhoids[299 ]. A tincture of the seed is used in India to kill lice[299 ]. A root preparation is applied to relieve toothache, syphilis, gonorrhoea and kidney stones[299 ]. A watery root paste is applied topically in India to treat worm-infested wounds[299 ]. A root infusion is used there as an antidote against snakebites and to treat insect and scorpion stings[299 ].
Other Uses
Agroforestry Uses: The plant is sometimes grown as a cover crop and green manure[418 ]. Indigofera tinctoria is useful as a green manure, it is used in India, for example, in coffee plantations and as a cover crop preceding rice, maize, cotton and sugarcane[299 ]. In traditional rainfed rice cropping systems in the Philippines, this plant is a popular green manure, increasing rice yield whilst also reducing by 50% the need to supply expensive nitrogen fertilizer[299 ]. The residue remaining after indigo extraction is also applied to the land as manure[299 ]. Another reason to grow Indigofera tinctoria as a green manure is because it is a good nitrogen catch crop, reducing the amount of fertilizer NO3 leaching to the groundwater[299 ]. Other Uses: A deep blue dye is obtained from the leaves[46 , 299 , 301 ]. The leaves and twigs do not actually contain indigo but colourless precursors that must be extracted and then processed in order to produce the indigo dye[299 ]. The harvested leafy branches are placed in a tank containing water to which some lime has been added, and are weighted down with planks[303 ]. After some hours of fermentation, during which enzymic hydrolysis leads to the formation of indoxyl, the liquid is drained off and then stirred continuously for several hours to stimulate oxidation of the indoxyl[303 ]. Afterwards the solution is left to rest and the insoluble indigo settles to the bottom as a bluish sludge[303 ]. The water is drained and after the indigo has dried, it is cut into cubes or made into balls[303 ]. To dye textiles, indigo is reduced to a soluble form by a fermentation process under alkaline conditions. In traditional preparations of the dye, various reducing agents such as molasses are used, together with coconut-milk, bananas and the leaves of Psidium guajava[303 ]. The alkalinity is maintained by adding lime. After the textile has been dipped into solution it turns blue when exposed to the air[303 ]. The twigs are used as toothbrushes[299 ].
Cultivation details
Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen;  Industrial Crop: Dye;  Management: Coppice;  Minor Global Crop.

A plant of the tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,600 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 28?c, but can tolerate 7 - 32?c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,300 - 1,700mm, but tolerates 640 - 3,000mm[418 ]. Requires a position in full sun, succeeding in any deep, well-drained and moderately retentive and fertile soil[200 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 4.3 - 8.7[418 ]. Requires a position sheltered from hot winds[418 ]. Branches are harvested by cutting 10 - 20cm above ground level when the plants are 4 - 5 months old and have formed a closed stand, usually at the flowering stage[299 ]. The crop should be harvested promptly because heavy rains or flooding can destroy it in a few hours. In India harvested branches are tied into bundles of about 130 kg and transported to the dye factory. Up to 3 harvests are possible per year[299 ]. Dye yields can be 1.6 - 5.4 tonnes per hectare[418 ]. 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[755 ]. Flowering Time: Mid Spring. Bloom Color: Red-Orange or Pink. Spacing: 36-48 in. (90-120 cm).
Propagation
Seed - pre-soak overnight in warm water and sow in a seedbed with partial shade. Germination takes about 4 days[299 ]. Semi-ripe cuttings of lateral shoots with a heel[200 ]. Root cuttings.
Other Names
dye indigo, Indian indigo, indigo, Indigostrauch - German, nanban-ai - Japanese Romaji, indigo - Swedish. Baludo, Banhebe, Banhepe, Bno, Caro, Carodim-o, Caromessem-o, Carre, Darko, Gara, Garatchendo, Ipute, Tinta, akika, amari, aviri, avuri, avuri (whole plant), avuri ver (root), añil, dye indigo, gali, galiparna, gari, indian indigo, indigo, indigo plant, indigostrauch, indigotier, kadu avuri, kadunili, karunili, kondannili, kalkesi, nanban-ai, neel, neela amari, neelamar, neeli, neeligida, nil, nila, nilam, nilbam, nili, nili chettu, nilika, nilini, nili, nilini, nilpu?pa, nili (leaf), nili (root), nili (whole plant), nilika, nilini, olleneeli, qing dai, rangapatri, rangapatri, true indigo,
Found In
Africa, Asia, Burkina Faso, Burma, East Africa, East Timor, Ethiopia, Guiana, Guinea, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indochina, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, SE Asia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Venezuela, West Africa, West Indies, Zambia,
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Indigofera arrectaBengal Indigo, Java indigo, Natal indigo22
Indigofera cassioides 11
Indigofera decoraChinese indigo21
Indigofera hebepetala 10
Indigofera hendecaphyllaCreeping indigo, spicate indigo, trailing indigo00
Indigofera heteranthaIndigo Bush10
Indigofera kirilowiiKirilow's indigo, Indigo01
Indigofera pseudotinctoriaIndigo10
Indigofera suffruticosaAnil Indigo, Anil de pasto02
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Due to a fault in the PDF printer we are trying a few different options. Please try the one below

 

Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
 
Author
L.
Botanical References
1
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.
Readers comment
 
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Add a comment/link

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Indigofera tinctoria  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design
Habitats
Translations

Twiter      Facebook

Content

Content Help
Bookshop
Support Us
Blog
Links
Old Database Search
Suppliers
Contact
About Us
News
Sign In

PFAF Newsletter

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.