Indigofera australis: is a member of the Fabaceae (Pea) family and is known as the Austral Indigo.
Indigofera australis is a spreading or erect shrub that will reach a height of two metres with a two metre spread. The leaves are deep green to bluish green, pinnate (see right image) and up to five centimetres long. Flowers are pea-shaped and carried in clusters on a single stalk (raceme). Clusters are about six centimetres long and flowers are 1.2 centimetres long. Blooms may be pink, light lilac or rarely white. They are said to be faintly perfumed. Flowering occurs between July and October and blooms are usually prolific and conspicuous.
Indigofera australis is a widespread species that occurs in all Australian states and a range of environments. The Austral Indigo is commonly seen as an understorey shrub in dry sclerophyll forests. We have also observed the species growing on the margins of rainforests.
Indigofera australis was first cultivated in England in 1790 and is still grown in containers in glasshouses.
The Austral Indigo occurs naturally on Yallaroo where we have scattered populations. These wild plants never reach their full potential because kangaroos and other herbivores eat the leaves but leave the flower clusters (see left image).
Cultivated specimens, without herbivore attack, develop into attractive shrubs. During flowering a cluster of blooms develops in the base of each leaf. The clusters are held upright and have the appearance of small candles that cover the plant.
Tip pruning promotes bushy growth. Plants resent cutting into old wood.
Propagate from seed that should be soaked in boiling water, before sowing, or cuttings.