Indigofera tinctoria L.

Indigofera tinctoria L.




Indigofera sumatrana Gaertner.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Nila, tarum.
English Common indigo, Indian indigo.
Indonesia Tom jawa, tarum alus, tarum kaju.
Philippines Tagung-tagung (Bisaya), taiom (Ilokano), taiung (Pampango).
Cambodia Trôm.
Laos Khaam.
Thailand Khraam (General), na-kho (Karen, Mae Hong Son).
Vietnam Chàm, chàm nhuôm.

Geographical Distributions

The large genus of Indigofera (about 700 spp.) is distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics of Asia, Africa and the Americas; most of the species occur in Africa and the southern Himalayas. About 40 species are native to Southeast Asia and many others have been introduced. Many species are cultivated in all tropical regions. Indigofera tinctoria is probably originated from Asia, but now its distribution is pantropical.


I. tinctoria is a small shrub tree that can reach up to 1 m tall, with flowers are 5 mm long, straight or slightly curved pods and contains 7-12 seeds.

Ecology / Cultivation

I. tinctoria does not tolerate heavy rainfall and waterlogging. In the natural or naturalised state, these species are found on open, sunny places such as wasteland, road-sides, riverbanks and grassland, sometimes up to 2000 m above sea level.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 3: Dye and tannin-producing plants.