This beauty was adopted as the floral emblem of South Australia on 23 November 1961.
Botanical name: Swainsona Formosa
Common name: Sturt’s Desert Pea
Height: Runs along the ground
Form: A creeping vine
Leaves: Silky grey-green pinnate foliage arising from prostrate stems. The leaves and stems are covered with downy hairs.
Flowers: The petals are usually blood red or scarlet with a glossy black swelling or ‘boss’ at the base of the uppermost petal, the standard. Other colour forms range from white to deep pink, either with or without a black boss, and rarely a bicoloured form, in which the standard is scarlet and the other petals, the wings and keel, are white tipped and edged with scarlet.
Under ideal conditions flowering commences about four months after germination.
Fruit: Fruit is a legume about 5 cm long which splits at maturity releasing several flat kidney-shaped seeds.
Propagation: By seed or Tissue culture (Seed will need pre-soak with warm water or scarification of the seed coat)
Where will it grow? : Full sun, perfect drainage and protection from snails are essential
Sturt’s Desert Pea occurs in arid woodlands and on open plains, often as an ephemeral following heavy rain. It is able to withstand extremes of temperature experienced in inland deserts, and light frosts are tolerated by established plants.
Once the seedlings are established supplementary watering may not be required.
Looking after: Keep the snails away and don’t kill it with kindness (don’t overwater)!