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Sturt's desert pea

Swainsona formosa


An Australian plant in the genus Swainsona, named after English botanist Isaac Swainson, famous for its distinctive blood-red leaf-like flowers, each with a bulbous black centre, or "boss". It is one of Australia's best known wildflowers. It is native to the arid regions of central and north-western Australia.


Pilburra desert.

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lori.tas 7 years ago

Hi Argy, yeah this one has red bosses. No idea if that's a particular strain or not, just spotted them by the road-side and stopped to take a few photos. Thanks, Adarsha. That's a good description of that dripping dark red.

Adarsha B S
Adarsha B S 7 years ago

Deadly red...beautiful :)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

I like that one - red boss. These plants vary so much but always spectacular.

lori.tas 8 years ago

We try to go on holiday every other year or so. Last year it was the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef, so maybe next year we'll get to the "north isand". We do get about Tasmania a lot. Two weeks ago we went to Cradle Mountain National Park for the weekend. This summer we'll probably get back to Maria Island.

DanielePralong 8 years ago

Thanks Lori. It is striking to me that plants on separate continents have evolved identical toxins... I guess you now and then go to the "continent" for a refresher? You have so much beauty in Tasmania though!

lori.tas 8 years ago

Cool "factoid" Daniele. I don't get much chance to desert peas since they don't grow in Tasmania.

DanielePralong 8 years ago

Such a beautiful plant that always reminds me of Australia! Here's a bit of "scientific trivia": Swainsona is the plant from which swainsonine was first extracted, a toxin present in locoweed and responsible for most livestock intoxications in the US.

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Spotted on Sep 22, 2005
Submitted on Jul 14, 2011

Spotted for Mission

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