Sturt's Desert Pea
"A member of the pea family"
You will only find the Sturts Desert Pea in Australia!
Sturt's Desert Pea - (Swainsona formosa)
The Sturt's Desert Pea is a hardy beautiful and most interesting creeping vine. The plant has silky grey-green leaves and stems are covered with downy hairs. The flower or blossom is like a bean blossom, but much larger. The petals are deep bright or blood red colour with a glossy black swelling when in flower they really stand out.
It is a member of the pea family and is only found in Australia.
The flowers of the Sturts Desert Pea are approximately 9 cm long and arranged in clusters or groups of six to eight on short, thickish, erect stalks. The plant does come in other colours like white to deep pink with or without a black boss. When the Sturt's Desert Pea is in its natural habitat it is a perennial plant with silky grey-green pinnate foliage arising from prostrate stems.
It grows in arid woodlands and on the open plains. It will tolerate light frosts and withstand the extremes of hot and cold temperatures.
Full sun with the best drainage ideally suits the desert pea and when cultivated protection from slugs and snails is most important. When placed in ideal conditions flowering will commence within four months after germination. The plant is recognised as an annual but vigorous flowering may result if root crowns and will survive season after season. It may also be grown in large tubs, terracotta drainpipes are a favourite as long as the plant has adequate root development.
Sturt's Desert Pea is protected in South Australia and flowers or plants can not be collected from private land without consent of the owner, however one can collected from Crown land as it is illegal without a permit.
The Sturt's Desert Pea is the state floral emblem of South Australia.