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Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa)

Was for many years included in the genus Clianthus and known as Clianthus formosus. It has since been reclassified and placed in the genus Swainsona (after Isaac Swainson, a scientist and plant cultivator). Formosa is the Latin formosus, for beautiful, hence the species Swainsona formosa.

The plant is more commonly known as “Sturt’s Desert Pea” after explorer Captain Charles Sturt, who noted the occurrence of Swainsona formosa in 1844 while exploring between Adelaide and Central Australia. Sturt’s journal “Narrative of an Expedition into Central Australia” makes several references to the beauty of the desert pea in flower and the harsh nature of its habitat.

The flower of the Sturt's Desert Pea have been discovered to come in a range of colour variation from white to deep pink.

Sturt’s Desert Pea

Olive Pink Botanic Garden, Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa).
© Colin Leel
Check out our other Sturt’s Desert Pea info and images.
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