Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Indigo Comparison II

A comparison of two varieties of indigo. I know the one on the left is polygonum tinctorium. The one on the right seems to be slightly different but may still be polygonum tinctorium--just another variety.

To update, I have three varieties of indigo growing this year. Two types of polygonum tinctorium and a third I now believe was not identified correctly when I got the seeds. The third has thinner leaves that tend to curl and they seem to turn a darker blue when dried. The plants have gotten taller than the others after the same growth and have bloomed earlier than the others.

I removed a leaf from each of the plants in the picture above and slightly crushed them. The leaf on the left started to turn blue immediately and the one of the right only a little. The leaf on the left is much thinner and they have had a tendency to curl on the plants. The leaves are close in size as far as length and width go.

From left to right, the varieties are: the one I am unsure about, polygonum tincorium senbon, and polygonum tinctorium kojyoko. All were transplanted at the same time.

The unidentified stems approx 18" long, thick stems with reddish/brown cast. Leaves are thin and have a tendency to curl. Leaves are slightly olive in color. Larges leaves are approx 3-4" long and 2" wide at widest point.

Polygonum tinctoria  senbon. Stems are approx 18" long with a reddish cast. Leaves are bright green and approx 3-4" long and 2" wide at widest point.
Polygonum tinctoria kojyoko. Stems are approx 12-14" long and are green with some brown. Leaves are bright green and approx 2-3" long and 1 1/2" at widest point. This variety seems to grow a little more compactly.

Left to right, the unidentified variety, polygonum tinctoria senbon, polygonum tinctoria kojyoko leaves for a side by side comparison. 

Next I will compare the dried stems and leaves and then the blossoms and seeds. I am still working to confirm what variety of indigo I have in the third set of plants.


  1. That's not indigofera tinctoria! Nice blog though!

  2. Thanks! I am working on getting it ID'd but apparently there is a lot of confusion and misinformation to try and sort out. It may just be another variety of the Japanese indigo. One of my friends who also dyes asked why I cared as long as it made blue dye.