Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Indigofera linnaei Ali

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Leaves and flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Herbarium specimen. © DERM

Ali, S.I. (1958) Botaniska Notiser : 549.

Common name

Birdsville Indigo; Nine-leaved Indigo; Indigo, Birdsville; Indigo, Nine-leaved


Shrublet 20-90 cm tall wiith a long taproot and ascending branches.Stipules triangular, 2-4 mm long; rachis 3-18 mm long.


Leaflets 3-10, alternate, ovate to narrowly vate3-15 x 2-5 mm, nerves not visible, petiolules ca. 1 mm long. Leaflet surfaces clothed in prostrate hairs. Stipules hairy, triangular, ca. 3 x 1.5-2 mm, apex aristate. Venation difficult to discern because of the covering of hairs.


Racemes 0.5-2.5 cm long; bracts triangular, 2 x 1 mm. Pedicels 0.5 mm long. Flowers red to orange red, 3-4 mm long; calyx cup-shaped, 1.5 mm long and wide, teeth narrowly triangular, 2.5 mm long; standard broadly ovate to orbicular, 3-4.5 x 2.5-4 mm and hairy on the back; wings 3-4 x 1-1.5 mm, glabrous, margins shortly ciliate; keel petals 3-4 x 1.5 mm, glabrous, shortly ciliate; staminal tube 2.5-4 mm long; ovary strigose; ovules 2-3.


Pod straight, spreading, globose, 3-8 x 1.5-2 mm, covered in basifixed hairs, slightly beaked. Seeds 2-3, rounded to square, globulose, ca. 1 x 1 mm, light brown mottled dark brown, with a smooth testa.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, NEQ, CEQ and wideaspread through much of northern central Australia. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 780 m. Grows in deciduous vine thicket, various types of woodland, shrubland and wooded grassland. Also from India through to Malesia, Melanesia to New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

The cause for 'Birdsville Disease' with horses in Australia (De Kort & Thijsse 1984).

Anila prostrata (L.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 2: 938(1891). Indigofera dominii H.Eichler, Supplement to Black's Flora of South Australia Edn. 2 : 190(1965). Indigofera enneaphylla L., Mantissa Plantarum 2: 272(1771), Type: Habitat in India orientali. Indigofera prostrata (L.) Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89: 741(1928). Hedysarum prostratum L., Mantissa Plantarum 1: 102(1767).
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