Economic Botany

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 314–327 | Cite as

Creeping indigo (Indigofera spicata forsk.) (Fabaceae)—A hazard to herbivores in Florida

  • Julia F. Morton


Creeping indigo,Indigofera spicata, while only a minor source of dye, has been much planted for cover, green manure, and erosion control in coffee, tea, and rubber plantations in warm parts of the Old World. It is palatable, even enticing, to most grazing animals. Feeding tests at the University of Florida (1933–1934) demonstrated toxicity to rabbits. Pasture trials in Hawaii were promising for 10 yr, but when the plant amounted to 50% of the feed (1949–1950) it proved toxic to cattle, sheep, goats, and fowl. The deep-rooted weed, with yard-long, prostrate runners, has become naturalized from Gainesville southward and has heavily invaded many pastures in southern Florida, especially on limestone. High intake is now associated with a fatal CNS syndrome in local horses, formerly linked by some to agricultural pesticides. The leaves and seeds contain indospicine, a toxic amino acid; the toxin was formerly reported to be β-nitropropionic acid. Some diploid strains in Africa are said to be non-toxic.


Economic Botany Indigo Cover Crop Corneal Opacity Peanut Meal 
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Creeping Indigo (Indigofera spicata) (Fabaceae)—Eine Gefahr für Pflanzenfresser in Florida. Creeping Indigo,Indigofera spicata, nur eine minimale menge der farbmittels, wird sehr oft als dünger und für erosionszweule in kaffee, tee, und gummibaum plantagen der warmen gebiete der Welt gepflanzt. Es ist schmackhaft und verlockend für die meisten grasenden Tiere. Fress-versuche in der Universitat von Florida (1933-1934) erweisten sich giftig für Hasen. Weiden versuche in Hawaii erweisten sich zwar die ersten 10 Jahre positiv, doch danach wurden 50% der Tiere: Vieh, Ziegen, Schafe und Geflieder vergifted. Das tief-gewurzelte, mit ellenlange auslaufen unkraut ist sehr im suden von Gainesville verbreitet, vor allem in weiden mit viel Sandstein. Es ist tödlich fur pferde der gegend wenn der konsum dieser pflanze zu hoch gerät, und was früher zu dem CNS syndrom führte, zwar die sprühmittel, wird jetzt diesem unkraut zugeschulded. Die Blätter und Samen enthalten indospicine, ein giftiges amino acid. Damals hatte man früher gesagt als β-nitropropionic acid zu sein. Einige Linien in Afrika werden nicht als giftig erkannt.


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Copyright information

© New York Botanical Garden 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia F. Morton
    • 1
  1. 1.Morton CollectaneaUniversity of MiamiCoral Gables

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