Indigofera suffruticosa Mill.

Last updated: 19 June 2015

Scientific Name

Indigofera suffruticosa Mill.


Indigofera angolensis D.Dietr., Indigofera anil L., Indigofera comezuelo DC., Indigofera divaricata Jacq., Indigofera drepanocarpa Bergman, Indigofera guatimala Lunan, Indigofera houer auct. non Forssk., Indigofera micrantha Desv., Indigofera oligophylla Lam., Indigofera tinctoria Mill., Indigofera uncinata G.Don. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Tarom, sekebak (Peninsular Malaysia) [2]
English Anil indigo, Bengal indigo, Ceylon indigo, Guatemala indigo, indigo plant, Madras indigo, West Indian indigo, wild indigo [2][3]
India Anila, Averie, neelum, nil, nil-awari, nilam, nili, nilini, shimaiya-viri, vilaiti, vishashodhani, vishasodanie [3]
Borneo Daun tarum [3]
Indonesia Taem-taem (Sumatra); ta­gom-tagom (Kalimantan); tom janti (Javanese); vilaiti-nil [2][3]
Thailand Khram-thuan (Shan, Chiang Mai); khram yai (Ubon Ratchathani) [2]
Philippines Tina-tinaan (Tagalog); tayum (Hi­saya, Ilokano); sangifaria (Mindanao) [2]
Vietnam Ch[af]m b[uj]I, c[aa]y ch[af]m [2][3]
Madagascar Aika, engilavy, engitra, hengitra, ingetsea, netrihazo [3]
Latin America Abgi gastuet, abugi, anil de piedra, azul, azul de hoja, azulejo, hojas azules, mutuy, platanito, platanito de tinto, sacatinta, tinto [3].

Geographical Distributions

Indigofera suf­fruticosa originated in tropical America, but is now widely distributed and naturalised through­out the tropics, including Southeast Asia. [2]

I. suffruticosa is commonly found on roadsides, waste lands, fallow lands and cultivated fields up to 1800 m altitude. It is sometimes found on beaches and in grass fields. [2]

Botanical Description

I. suf­fruticosa is a member of the Leguminosae family. It is a shrub that can grow 45-250 cm tall with erect, striate branches and with indumentum of appressed, biramous hairs with equally long arms. [2]

The leaves are imparipinnate. The stipules are narrowly triangu­lar and measuring 3-6 mm x 0.2-0.3 mm. The petiole is up to 2 cm long and the rachis is 5-10 cm long. The petiolule is 1-1.5 mm long. Stipels are linear. There are (7-)9-15 leaflets which are opposite, narrowly elliptical to narrowly obovate, measuring 10-40 mm x 3-15 mm, wedge-shaped at base, acute to rounded at apex, mu­cronate, hairless or with very few hairs above and ap­pressed grey pubescent beneath. [2]

The inflorescence is an axillary raceme which is 2-6 cm long. The bracts are narrowly tri­angular while the pedicel is 0.5-1 mm long. The flower is 4-5 mm long. It is salmon pink to red. The sepal is bell-shaped, with tube 1 mm long, and triangular teeth which is 0.7-1.2 mm long. The upper part of petal is ovate to orbicular, measuring 3-4.5 mm x 2.5-3 mm and it is hairy on the back. The hairless wings measure 2-4 mm x 0.8-1.2 mm. The keel measure is 2.5-4.5 mm x 1.2-2 mm, hairy, with non-ciliated margin and with lateral pocket of 0.5 mm long. There are 10 stamens, where 1 is free while the other 9 connate into a staminal tube which is 3.5-4 mm long. The ovary is hairy while the stigma and style are headed. [2]

The fruit is a descending pod, 4-6-seeded, dis­tinctly upcurved, measuring 1.5-2(-3) cm x 2 mm and hairy. The shiny brown seed is cubical, and measuring 1.5-2.0 mm x 1.5 mm. Seedling is with epigeal germination. [2]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

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Poisonous Management

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Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of I. suf­fruticose. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Indigofera suffruticosa Mill. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2010 Jul 14; cited 2015 June 19]. Available from:
  2. Sunarno B. Indigofera suffruticosa Miller In: Faridah Hanum I, van der Maesen LJG, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 11: Auxiliary plants. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1997; p. 161-163.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 569.