Prostrate Indigo
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Prostrate Indigo
P Native Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Prostrate Indigo
Botanical name: Indigofera prostrata    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Indigofera trifoliata var. nepalensis, Indigofera trifoliata var. prostrata

Prostrate Indigo is a herb, up to 30 cm high; branches slender, prostrate to rising up. Flowers are pink-red, about 3 mm long; flower-stalks about 1 mm long. Sepal-cup is velvet-hairy outside, cup about 0.5 mm long, teeth about 1.5 mm long, narrowly triangular. Standard is about 3 x 2 mm, elliptic, sometimes obovate, adpressed hairy and copiously gland-dotted on the back; wing petals about 2.5 x 1 mm, hairless; keel petals about 2.5 x 1.5 mm, adpressed hairy and copiously gland-dotted on the back, lateral spur about 0.8 mm long. Staminal sheath about 2.5 mm long. Flowers are borne in stalkless racemes 3-5 mm long, in leaf-axils, stalkless, spherical; axis velvet-hairy, gland-dotted, 4-10-flowered. Leaves are digitately trifoliolate; leaf-stalks 5-8 mm long, channeled above, velvet-hairy; leaflet-stalks about 1 mm long; leaflets 10-18 x 5-9.5 mm, obovate or inverted-lanceshaped, sometimes elliptic, velvet-hairy with prostrate hairs on both surfaces, brown gland-dotted beneath. Pods are 15-20 x 1-1.5 mm, pointing backwards, straight, thread-like, almost cylindric, torulose, shortly apiculate, 5-8-seeded, seams obscurely winged, sparsely adpressed velvet-hairy and glanduliferous towards the tip. Seeds 1-1.5 x 0.8 mm, rounded at both ends, shiny, brown. Prostrate Indigo is found in India, Bangladesh and West Himalaya. Flowering: August-January.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Puzhal, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

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