Common Name: Pala Indigo plant, Dyer’s oleander, Sweet indraja. Tamil Name: Vet-palai
Pala Indigo is a small deciduous tree growing to a height of about 5-7 meters. The tree is seen in outskirts of Coimbatore near dry deciduous forest slopes of Western Ghats. The tree is often seen leafless bearing white star shaped fragrant flowers. The leaves are simple and opposite in arrangement, the leaf margin is entire. The leaf stalk and leaf measure around 4 mm and 11 cm respectively. The leaf shape is elliptical-ovate in shape; base acute and apex acuminate. The inflorescence is in the form of a cyme. The tubular bisexual flower measure around 2.5 cm across. The flowers have five petals and appear star like in shape. The flower has five stamens which are inserted. The fruit is in the form of a double follicle jointed at tip. The fruit is dark green in color and turn dark when ripe. The follicle has some warty markings on it. The seeds have measure around 1.5 cm and have a cottony beard attached. The plant is pollinated by insects and seed dispersed by wind. Dyer’s oleander is much valued in traditional Indian systems of medicine; all parts of the plant are put to use. The entire plant is used to extract dye. The wood is soft and is used to make toys and other handicraft items. Pala Indigo plant can be planted as an ornamental tree in small gardens and households.