Fun Flower Facts: Sturt’s Desert Pea

Sturts Desert PeaScientific 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.

Climate Zones: 9-10

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

About Lesley Lowry

I love flowers! I enjoy growing them, learning about them and I love creating bouquets of freshly cut flowers. In our climate where it's winter most of the time, the growing season is way too short, so I have started this blog to get my fix all winter! I encourage you to post regularly on this blog, especially if you're lucky enough to live in a warm climate and can grow flowers all year long. I intend to post a lot of interesting facts and fun stuff about flowers, as well as info on many varieties of flowers.
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3 Responses to Fun Flower Facts: Sturt’s Desert Pea

  1. This post carves a smile in my face. I’m happy that you took the time to write a flower trivia. Keep posting more of this.
    Flower power,
    Ed of

    Like this

  2. exiledprospero says:

    I love the desert pea! I got mine to germinate, and grow… but never to flower. It may be too humid in Bermuda. Undaunted, I will try again some day.

    Like this

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