Indigofera linifolia



Indigofera linifolia

(L.f.) Retz. 1786

pronounced: in-dig-OFF-er-uh linn-ih-FOH-lee-uh

(Fabaceae — the pea family)

subfamily: Faboideae - the bean sub-family


common name: pandharphali

Indigofera is from the Spanish indigo, from the Latin indicum, their name for the plant, and fero, to bear, carry; linifolia is from the Latin linum, flax and folium, a leaf. Pandharphali is a Hindi name for the plant, but the name also seems to be applied to several other dissimilar plants.

This is a small herbaceous annual or short-lived perennial, with very narrow leaves, usually found growing in rather dry localities. I have not been able to find its full distribution, but it is certainly found in the Indian sub-continent, and across northern Australia.

It was one of the plants collected in 1770 by Banks and Solander during the voyage of the Endeavour. It was collected at the Endeavour River (Cooktown).

In its wild state it is rather prostrate, and often invades disturbed areas. It is a fair fodder, and when grown in a pasture mix it is usually more erect in its growth habit.

The herb will grow to about 60 cm high; its stems are tomentose, the hairs grey-green to whitish.

The leaves are simple, linear to narrow-lanceolate, from 1.5 – 5 cm long, and 1.5 wide, the apex acute; the lamina is not articulate on the petiole, and subsessile; the stipules are linear, 3 – 4 mm long.

The tiny inflorescences are only up to 1 cm long. The calyx is white-tomentose, the teeth much longer than the tube. The petals are dark pink to red.

The pod is globose, 2 – 3 mm long, white-tomentose, with the seed solitary.


Photographs taken by the West Point road 2012, & in Horseshoe Bay 2014
Page last updated 17th January 2019