Plant of the month – Australian Indigo

Botanical Name: Indigofera australis

Common Name: Australian Indigo

Family: Fabaceae

Subfamily: Faboideae

Meaning:

Indigofera: From Latin, meaning indigo bearing, after the indigo coloured dye comes from the leaves of some of these species.

australis: From Latin, meaning from the south, referring to its geographic location.

Habitat: Sheltered forests and woodlands. Drought tolerant, but will flower more profusely if watered.

Soils: Found on clay-shale soils.

Habit: Shrub, 1.5 – 2.5m high.

Leaves: Compound, pinnate, greyish-green, soft, dull.

Flowers: Pink to mauve in a many-flowered (to 25+) raceme. Provides a good nectar and food source for butterflies, bees and other native insects. Good garden plant that does well if lightly pruned annually.

Flowering time: August to September.  

Fruit: Thin pods containing approximately 10 seeds.

Seed: Requires heat treatment before sowing to break hard seed coat, for example, soaking in hot water overnight. Regenerates from seed. Can also be grown from cuttings.

Range: All states and territories of Australia, except the Northern Territory.

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