Swainsona_formosa.jpg (14860 bytes)Swainsona formosa : is a member of the Pea (Fabaceae) family. Its common name is Sturtís Desert Pea.
Swainsona formosa is a trailing plant with large, grey pinnate leaves. Stems may be up to two metres long. Bear in mind that snails and slugs are partial to the foliage.
Sturtís Desert Pea may be an annual or short-lived perennial.
Swainsona formosa carries magnificent, large pea flowers in spring. The blooms are brilliant red with a black boss and are carried on upright stems.
The species is the floral emblem of South Australia .
Swainsona formosa may be difficult to cultivate. Most growers treat this pea as an annual. Well drained situations are necessary for success. This is a plant that would add great interest to a large rockery. We grew the illustrated plant in a large, upright drainage pipe filled with a sandy soil mix.
Sturtís Desert Pea is a native of the semi-arid areas of all mainland states except Victoria .
Propagate from seed that should be scarified before sowing. Plants resent disturbance so seeds should be sown in situ. Sow in March or April for spring flowering.