Scientific name: swainsona formaosa
Sturt’s desert pea is definitely an unusual looking plant. The Desert Pea is a slow-growing, creeping plant known for its bizarre, yet attractive flowers. The flowers are bright-red with leaf-like petals and purple-black bulbous centers (known as “the boss”). The leaves and stems are greenish-grey and are covered with fine hairs.
It is Australia’s best known wildflower. Native to Australia’s woodlands and open plains, the Desert Pea plant is remarkably resilient and can withstand extreme temperatures. In its natural environment, the Desert Pea flowers for one season from spring until summer. In particular, the Desert Pea tends to flourish after a rainfall. It does well in full sun, along with nutrient-rich, well-drained soils.
It has been known to be notoriously difficult to cultivate from seed, but can thrive on grafted root stock. Besides red, grafted varieties can produce white and pink flowers.
Fun Flower Facts about the Desert Pea:
- it was adopted in 1961 as the state emblem of South Australia and is a protected species in the country
- collecting the flowers and plants is illegal without written consent
- the flower has appeared on Australian stamps
- the genus Swainsona was named after English botanist, Issac Swainson