Monday, August 19, 2013

Indigofera australis Austral Indigo

 Indigofera australis var. australis (Leguminosae)
This under-shrub (1.5 metre tall) of forests and open woodland has a wide range of distribution from Tasmania to Queensland, and, at this time of year, right through until December, it is a mass of rosy purple pea flowers which stand above the foliage in axillary sprays. The compound leaves are comprised of many smokey blue leaflets which expand or contract depending on how much soil moisture is available. I have one specimen in a pot which is waiting to be planted out and the leaves have become quite small from a lack of water, whereas these local species are lush by comparison.
The inland sister plant to this species ,var. signata has almost done away with leaves entirely and they appear as tiny wedges along the stems.
Austral Indigo is very adaptable to home garden use in either native or exotic gardens. Early in the new year, masses of seed pods appear and these are equally decorative.

Found locally in scrub on the higher slopes around Lake Illawarra