August 27 - September 2, 2017: Issue 327
Signs of Spring 2017
Lovely Indigofera australis, known as Australian Indigo. This is a species of leguminous shrub in the genus Indigofera (Fabaceae family). The genus name "Indigofera" is Neo-Latin for "bearing Indigo" (Indigo is a purple dye originally obtained from some Indigofera species), while "australis" from the Latin, means "southern". The Australian aborigines crushed the leaves and added these to water to kill or stun fish and eels. The leaves and stems produce yellow-fawn dye with alum as mordant.
The flower colour ranges from soft purple to pinkish hues with flowers that are smooth, in short spires in the leaf axils. They open at any time from mid-September on, these are obviously early, and continue flowering until November in a cool spring. The plant can regrow and sucker from rootstocks and lateral roots after fire.