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 Connor Lowry

I love flowers! I enjoy writing about them as well as gardening. Mostly I love finding new and unique flower gardening ideas I encourage you to post regularly on this blog, and send in guest blogs or ideas for new blogs as well. New and exciting blogs are always welcome 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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5 Responses to Fun Flower Facts: Sturt’s Desert Pea

  1. Lennon WHITLEY says:

    the Sturt’s Desert Pea is so amazing and cool do you agree


  2. Rossi says:

    Would this plant do well in a California desert?


  3. 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


  4. 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.


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