Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Indigofera trita subsp. scabra
(Asian Indigo)

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Datasheet

Indigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 21 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Threatened Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Indigofera trita subsp. scabra
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Asian Indigo
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • To date, I. trita subsp scabra is listed as invasive only for the Dominican Republic (Kairo et al., 2003...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Indigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); flowering habit. Florida, USA.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionIndigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); flowering habit. Florida, USA.
Copyright©Roger L. Hammer-2015
Indigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); flowering habit. Florida, USA.
Flowering habitIndigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); flowering habit. Florida, USA.©Roger L. Hammer-2015
Indigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); close-up of a flower. Crawl Key, Monroe County, Florida, USA. April, 2007.
TitleFlower
CaptionIndigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); close-up of a flower. Crawl Key, Monroe County, Florida, USA. April, 2007.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley-2007
Indigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); close-up of a flower. Crawl Key, Monroe County, Florida, USA. April, 2007.
FlowerIndigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); close-up of a flower. Crawl Key, Monroe County, Florida, USA. April, 2007.©Keith A. Bradley-2007
Indigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); close-up of a flower. Note developing seed pods. Crawl Key, Monroe County, Florida, USA. April, 2007.
TitleFlower
CaptionIndigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); close-up of a flower. Note developing seed pods. Crawl Key, Monroe County, Florida, USA. April, 2007.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley-2007
Indigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); close-up of a flower. Note developing seed pods. Crawl Key, Monroe County, Florida, USA. April, 2007.
FlowerIndigofera trita subsp. scabra (Asian Indigo); close-up of a flower. Note developing seed pods. Crawl Key, Monroe County, Florida, USA. April, 2007.©Keith A. Bradley-2007

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Indigofera trita subsp. scabra (Roth) De Kort & G.Thijsse

Preferred Common Name

  • Asian Indigo

Other Scientific Names

  • Indigofera keyensis Small
  • Indigofera laotica Gagnep.
  • Indigofera mucronata var. keyensis (Small) Isely
  • Indigofera rutschuruensis De Wild.

International Common Names

  • Spanish: añil; azulita; frijolillo; frijolillo de llano

Local Common Names

  • India: three-leaved indigo
  • USA/Florida: Florida indigo

Summary of Invasiveness

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To date, I. trita subsp scabra is listed as invasive only for the Dominican Republic (Kairo et al., 2003). Here, the subspecies is reported as a weed in ruderal areas, along roadsides and in disturbed forests (Kairo et al., 2003). 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Faboideae
  •                                 Genus: Indigofera
  •                                     Species: Indigofera trita subsp. scabra

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Fabaceae is one of the largest families of flowering plants. This family includes about 745 genera and 19500 species which can be found throughout the world growing in a great variety of climates and environments (Stevens, 2012). The genus Indigofera includes over 750 species of shrubs, shrublets, perennial herbs, or rarely annual herbs or small trees (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014). Within the species I. trita, there are four infraspecific taxa accepted:

•      Indigofera trita var. maffei (Chiov.) Ali
•      Indigofera trita var. marginulata (Wight & Arn.) Sanjappa
•      Indigofera trita subsp. scabra (Roth) De Kort & G.Thijsse
•      Indigofera trita var. subulata (Poir.) Ali

The subspecies I. trita subsp. scabra is considered native to India, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Madagascar (ILDIS, 2014). This subspecies is also listed as native and with a conservation status of endangered in Florida (USA). It has previously been known as Indigofera mucronata var. keyensis, associated with its presence in the Florida Keys.

Description

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Erect, woody herbs or shrublets, 30-200 cm high; branches erect to horizontal, pinkish to light green, coarsely strigose, biramous hairs short, white, adpressed with equal arms. Leaves long, 5-7-foliolate, often basal leaves 3-foliolate; stipules 1-2 x 0.3-0.5 mm, narrowly triangular, hairy outside; petioles 1-2.5 cm long, canaliculate above, hairy; rachis 5-12 mm long; stipellae absent; petiolules 1-1.5 mm long; leaflets 3, very rarely 5, opposite. Racemes 5-15 cm long. Flowers pink to brick red, 4-5 mm long; bracts 1-1.5 mm long, narrowly triangular, caduceus; pedicels up to 1.2 mm long. Calyx adpressed white pubescent, cup 0.5-1 mm long, teeth 1-1.5 x 0.5 mm, narrowly triangular. Standard 3.5-4.5 x 3-4 mm, orbicular, sometimes broadly obovate, rounded and mucronate at apex, adpressed strigose on the back; wing petals 3-4 x 1 mm, glabrous ciliate along margins; keel petals 3-4 x 1-1.5 mm, strigose outside towards the tip, ciliate along margins, lateral spur ca 0.6 mm long. Staminal sheath 3-4 mm long; anthers approximately 0.5 mm long. Ovary approximately 3 mm long, linear, glabrous, up to 10-ovuled; style 1-1.5 mm long, glabrous. Pods more than 3 cm long, curved, dropping; seeds 6-10, approximately 2 x 1.5 mm, subtetragonous, yellow, dark-brown, smooth (India Biodiversity, 2014).

 

Plant Type

Top of page Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub

Distribution

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The subspecies I. trita subsp. scabra is considered native to India, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Madagascar (ILDIS, 2014). It is also listed as native to Florida (USA) (Wunderlin and Hansen, 2008). It is now uncommon in Florida, where it is extirpated on mainland Florida and present on eight islands in the upper and middle Florida Keys, in Monroe County (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008). Outside its native distribution range, I. trita subsp. scabra is known to occur only in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012). 

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

MadagascarPresentNativeILDIS (2014)

Asia

IndiaPresentCABI (Undated)Present based on regional distribution.
-Arunachal PradeshPresentNativeILDIS (2014)
-KarnatakaPresentNativeILDIS (2014)
-Madhya PradeshPresentNativeILDIS (2014)
-RajasthanPresentNativeILDIS (2014)
-Tamil NaduPresentNativeILDIS (2014)
LaosPresentNativeILDIS (2014)
Sri LankaPresentNativeILDIS (2014)
ThailandPresentNativeILDIS (2014)

North America

CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedInvasiveKairo et al. (2003)
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
JamaicaPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated a)
United StatesPresentCABI (Undated)Present based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresentNativeWunderlin and Hansen (2008)Endangered in this state

History of Introduction and Spread

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Many species in the genus Indigofera have been introduced throughout the tropics to be used as ornamentals, forage, groundcovers, and medicinal herbs (PROTA, 2014). I. trita subsp. scabra was probably introduced in the West Indies to be used as a forage and ground cover species but there is no known date of introduction available for this region (PROTA, 2014). 

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of I. trita subsp. scabra is moderate to low. Because it has a relative small geographical distribution, the probability of this subspecies colonizing new areas could be considered as “limited” (PROTA, 2014). 

Habitat

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I. trita subsp. scabra grows as a weed in grassy areas, disturbed sites, along roadsides, and in open forests, forest edges, and coastal areas (ILDIS, 2014; PROTA, 2014). In Florida, this plant occurs in coastal rock barrens, ecotone rock barren areas, and scraped areas mimicking rock barren habitat (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008). Florida populations are vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation from exotic plants on all sites.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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In India, this species has been reported flowering and fruiting from September to January (India Biodiversity, 2014). 

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
DisturbanceCommon weed in disturbed sites Yes Yes PROTA, 2014

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Land vehiclesSeeds Yes Yes PROTA, 2014
LivestockSeeds Yes Yes PROTA, 2014
Soil, sand and gravelSeeds Yes Yes PROTA, 2014

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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I. trita subsp. scabra is considered weedy and invasive in the Dominican Republic where it is invading open ground, ruderal areas, disturbed sites and forest edges (Kairo et al., 2003). 

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Fast growing
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Induces hypersensitivity
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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I. trita subsp. scabra is used as a forage and ground cover plant in the West Indies. It is also planted as an ornamental (Kairo et al., 2003; PROTA, 2014). 

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage

Environmental

  • Erosion control or dune stabilization

Ornamental

  • Cut flower
  • Seed trade

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Bradley KA; Woodmansee SW; Gann GD, 2004. Status survey of aboriginal pricklyapples, Harrisia aboriginum Small ex Britton & Rose, in Southwestern Florida. Vero Beach, Florida, USA: United States Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecosystem Office. http://regionalconservation.org/ircs/pdf/publications/2004_06.pdf

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

ILDIS, 2014. International Legume Database and Information Service. Reading, UK: School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading. http://www.ildis.org/

India Biodiversity, 2014. Online Portal of India Biodiversity. http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/list

Kairo M; Ali B; Cheesman O; Haysom K; Murphy S, 2003. Invasive species threats in the Caribbean region. Report to the Nature Conservancy. Curepe, Trinidad and Tobago: CAB International, 132 pp. http://www.issg.org/database/species/reference_files/Kairo%20et%20al,%202003.pdf

PROTA, 2014. PROTA4U web database. Grubben GJH, Denton OA, eds. Wageningen, Netherlands: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions. Federal Register:75176 -75244. https://federalregister.gov/a/E8-28986

Wunderlin RP; Hansen BF, 2008. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. Tampa, Florida, USA: University of South Florida. http://www.plantatlas.usf.edu/

Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

ILDIS, 2014. International Legume Database and Information Service., Reading, UK: School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading. http://www.ildis.org/

Kairo M, Ali B, Cheesman O, Haysom K, Murphy S, 2003. Invasive species threats in the Caribbean region. Report to the Nature Conservancy. In: Invasive species threats in the Caribbean region. Report to the Nature Conservancy. Curepe, Trinidad and Tobago: CAB International. 132 pp. http://www.issg.org/database/species/reference_files/Kairo%20et%20al,%202003.pdf

Wunderlin RP, Hansen BF, 2008. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants., Tampa, Florida, USA: University of South Florida. http://www.plantatlas.usf.edu/

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Atlas of Florida Vascular Plantshttp://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu
International Legume Database and Information Servicehttp://www.ildis.org/
Plant Resources for Tropical Africahttp://www.prota.org/

Contributors

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25/11/14 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Distribution Maps

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