Tick Indigo

Description

Common names

Tick Indigo, Leafless Indigo.

Scientific names

Indigofera adesmiifolia, Indigofera australis var. signata, Indigofera australis var. platypoda.

Family

Fabaceae.

Genus

Indigofera.

Name origin

Indigofera, neo-Latin for indigo-bearing. Adesmiifolia, leaves similar to plants in Adesmia genus.

Rainfall

300mm+.

Growth rate

Fast.

Growth height

Up to 1.5m.

Presence in Australia

Noted from drier areas to the west to higher rainfall areas to the east, including Long Plain-West Hume; Majors Creek; Deadmans-Bungowannah-Long Flat; Burrumbuttock-West Hume; Bowna-Jindera; Walla Walla; Yambla; Scent Bottle-Serpentine & Upper Yarra Yarra; Paddy"s River-Burra Valley; Maragle; The Rock-Henty-Milbrulong; Brookong and Lower Sandy. Probably more widespread prior to grazing pressures.

This specie has been identified in the following Australian states: Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic.

Habitat

Rocky places, mostly on volcanic soils. Woodland, especially on ranges and slopes.

Habit

Small shrub to 1.5m high with leaves up to 6.5cm long and leaflets up to 5 mm long.

Site preference

Well-drained soil in semi-shade. Tolerates moderately heavy frosts.

Flowering

Rose-pink, late winter-spring. Short flower sprays.

Seed collection

Mid Nov to early Feb. Monitor closely as seeds shed immediately or very soon after maturity. Ensure collection by securing nylon stockings or paper bags to fruiting branches after flowering.

Propagation

From scarified seed or cuttings, which strike readily. Pour boiling or very hot water over seeds and soak until water cools. Dry to prevent rotting and sow. Germination takes 3-4 weeks. Suitable for direct seeding in pots (2-3 seeds per pot).

Regeneration

From seed, particularly after fire.

Shade and shelter

Useful low-level cover in windbreaks.

Land protection

Legume - improves soil fertility by "fixing" nitrogen.

Wildlife

Excellent habitat. Flowers are a pollen and nectar source for many native insects, including bees and wasps. Food for butterfly caterpillars.

Ornamental

Attractive ornamental for gardens. Prune from early age to promote bushiness and prevent straggliness.