Botanical Name: Indigofera tinctoria
- English: Neel Patti, Avuri, Black Henna, Indego, henna indigo
Parts Used: Leaves
Indigofera is a genus of over 750 species of plants, many of which go by the common name “indigo.” It’s Indigofera tinctoria, however, that gives indigo color, so named for the deep blue dye it produces, which has been used for thousands of years. The plant is thought to be native to Asia or northern Africa, but it’s difficult to be sure, since it’s been in cultivation since at least 4,000 BCE, long before good gardening records were kept. It has since been naturalized the world over, including the American South, where it was a very popular crop in colonial times.
Natural indigo is obtained from a variety of plants, the most widely used one being indigofera tinctoria. This shrub grows wild and is cultivated in tropical areas throughout the world. Indigo powder - the famous blue dye - is extracted from the leaves of the indigo plant.
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