Aeschynomene indica

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Axillary inflorescences with jointed pods, and seeds.

Axillary inflorescences with jointed pods.

Linear pinnate leaves.

Erect annual sub-shrub.

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Scientific name

Aeschynomene indica  L.


Aeschynomene cachemiriana Cambess.
Aeschynomene diffusa Willd.
Aeschynomene glaberrima Poiret
Aeschynomene hispida Willd.
Aeschynomene indica L. var. punctata Pers.
Aeschynomene indica L. var. viscosa Miq.
Aeschynomene macropoda DC.
Aeschynomene montana Spanoghe
Aeschynomene oligantha Baker
Aeschynomene pumila L.
Aeschynomene punctata Steudel
Aeschynomene quadrata Schum. & Thonn.
Aeschynomene roxburghii Sprengel
Aeschynomene subviscosa DC.
Aeschynomene virginica auct. mult.
Hedysarum alpinum Lour.
Hedysarum neli-tali Roxb.
Hedysarum virginicum Lour.


Family: Fabaceae (alt. Leguminosae) subfamily: Faboideae tribe: Aeschynomeneae subtribe: Aeschynomeninae. Also placed in: Papilionaceae.

Common names

budda pea, curly indigo, hard sola, Indian jointvetch, kat sola, northern jointvetch, sensitive jointvetch, sensitive vetch.

Morphological description

An erect, annual (sometimes perennial) herb or sub-shrub, 0.3-2.5 m tall.  Stems hollow, pithy, mostly to about 5 mm diameter (to 2.5 cm diameter at the base);  glabrous to moderately hispid with sometimes glandular hairs.  Leaves pinnate, occasionally sensitive, 5-10 cm long, mostly to 50- (sometimes to 70-) foliolate;  leaflets linear-oblong, 3-13 mm long, 1-3 mm wide, glabrous.  Inflorescences comprising 1-6 flowers;  standard yellow or whitish, mostly lined and suffused with red outside, or purplish, elliptic, 7-10 mm long, 4-7 mm wide;  wings and keel greenish white or pale yellow.  Pod linear, straight or slightly curved, 2.4-4.8 cm long (excluding the stipe), 5-13 jointed, one suture more or less straight, the other slightly scalloped between the articles.  Articles oblong, 3-5 mm long and wide, compressed with sparse, short, tubercular-based hairs, central part raised.  Seed dark olive-black or brownish, oblong , slightly beaked, 3-4 mm long, 2-3 mm thick.  80,000-300,000 (av. 140,000) seeds/kg (22 accessions).


Native to or naturalised in:
North America:  Mexico, USA (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas).
South America:  Brazil.
Caribbean:  Puerto Rico.
Africa:  Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, The Gambia, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Asia:  Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Ryukyu Is., Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Australasia/Pacific:  Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Northern Marianas, Society Is, West Papua Niugini (Irian Jaya).
Indian Ocean :  Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues.
Found in seasonally flooded waterlogged grassland;  freshwater swamp and aquatic vegetation.


A freely nodulating nitrogen-fixing species, A. indica can be used as green manure.  May have application as a fodder crop in rotation with rice, but should be treated with caution due to reports of toxicity.  Many medicinal uses (including spermicide).  Pith from the stem can be used for floatation.


Soil requirements

Largely on soils with texture ranging from sandy loam to clay, with pH from 4.5-8;  sometimes on black saline soils.  Distribution more determined by moisture availability and drainage than by soil texture .


Occurs mostly on soils that are subject to flooding and waterlogging .


Extremely widely distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics, from near sea level to 1,530 m asl, and from about 35ºN in North Carolina (USA) and 28ºS in NSW (Australia), to near the equator in Africa, Papua New Guinea, and South America.  This equates to a range in average annual temperatures from about 17-27ºC.


No information available.

Reproductive development

Most lines tested commenced flowering between late January and late February at 21ºS, the latest commencing in late March.


No information available.


No information available.


Guidelines for the establishment and management of sown pastures.


Mechanical scarification of hand-harvested seed may be necessary to overcome hard seededness.  A. indica appears to be somewhat promiscuous, but may nodulate more effectively with CB 2312.  Can form nodules at the base of the stem .


No information available.

Compatibility (with other species)

No information available.

Companion species

Grasses:  Grows in similar environments to Hemarthria altissima and Acroceras macrum .
Legumes:  Often growing together with Sesbania spp. and Acacia nilotica subsp. tomentosa.  Could grow with other water-loving, but not overly aggressive species such as Aeschynomene americana and Vigna luteola .

Pests and diseases

Susceptible to anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides f.sp. aeschynomene.

Ability to spread

Spreads by seed in areas where conditions are suitable.

Weed potential

Can be a serious weed in rice paddies.  Rarely found in any quantity beyond wet areas.

Feeding value

Nutritive value

No information available.


Low to moderate palatability .


There is evidence of toxicity to ruminants.  Seeds as contaminants in feed grain can be toxic to pigs, causing a vestibulocerebellar disorder.

Production potential

Dry matter

No information available.

Animal production

No information available.


2n = 40.

Seed production

No information available.

Herbicide effects

Susceptible to the microbiological herbicide, C. gloeosporioides f.sp. aeschynomene ATCC 20358, which also attacks other members of Aeschynomene series Indicae, A. virginica, A. evenia , A. rudis, and A. scabra.



Other comments

Closely related to Aeschynomene evenia , a cultivar of which has been released in Florida, USA.

Selected references

Bielig, L.M. (1997) Chromosome numbers in the forage legume genus, Aeschynomene L. Sabrao Journal, 29, 33-39.
Bishop, H.G., Pengelly, B.C. and Ludke, D.H. (1988) Classification and description of a collection of the legume genus, AeschynomeneTropical Grasslands, 22, 160-175.
Kretschmer, A.E. and Bullock, R.C. (1980) Aeschynomene spp.: Distribution and potential use. Proceedings of the Soil and Crop Science Society of Florida, 39, 145-152.
Rudd, V.E. (1955) The American species of Aeschynomene. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, 32, 58-60.

Internet links



Country/date released


None released to date.          

Promising accessions

Promising accessions



None reported.