Spike-Flower Indigo
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Spike-Flower Indigo
P Native Photo: Saroj Kasaju
Common name: Spike-Flower Indigo
Botanical name: Indigofera stachyodes    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
Synonyms: Indigofera bodinieri, Indigofera tomentosa

Spike-Flower Indigo is a shrub, 1-3 m tall. Stems are grayish brown; young branches angular, with dense long spreading brown trichomes. Stipules are linear, 5-6 mm. Leaves are 10-20 cm, compound, 31-41-foliolate; leaf-stalk and axis with trichomes; leaf-stalk very short, above grooved; leaflet blades opposite, nearly so, or alternate, lanceshaped-oblong but end one obovate-oblong, 1.2-2 × 0.4-0.9 cm, both surfaces with trichomes, base wedge-shaped to rounded, tip blunt to pointed. Flowers are borne in about 12 cm long, many flow­ered racemes. Flower-cluster-stalk and axis with dense spreading basifixed tri­chomes; flower-cluster-stalk longer than leaf-stalks; bracts linear, about 7 mm, hairy. Flower-stalks are about 1.5 mm, hairy. Calyx about 3.5 mm, with long spreading brown trichomes; tube about 1.5 mm; teeth lanceshaped, most lower one about 2 mm. Flower are pinkish, stan­dard elliptic, 10-11 × about 5 mm; wings about 9.5 mm, hairless; keel about 1 cm, outside fringed with hairs and hairy on top. Stamens are 9-10.5 mm; anthers ovoid, hairless. Pod is nearly cylindric, deflexed, 3-4 cm, with trichomes; endocarp blotched with purple. Seeds more than 10 per legume. Spike-Flower Indigo is found in sunny places, scrub, at altitudes of 700-2400 m, in China, Bhutan, Cambodia, NE India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam. Flowering: April-July.

Identification credit: Saroj Kasaju Photographed in Kalimpong, West Bengal & Arunachal Pradesh.

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