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The genus Smithia is named in honour of Sir James Edward Smith, 1759-1828. Purple Smithia is a small annual herb, 0.5-1 ft tall. Stem erect, branched, glabrous. Stalkless leaves are pinnate, with oblong leaflets having a bristle at the tip. Purple flowers, about 1 cm across, occur in racemes of 6-12 flowers. The round "standard" petal and the "wings" are marked with white spots. Flowering: October.