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Sturt's desert pea is one of Australia's best-known wildflowers and certainly has no equal in the Pea family.
A prostate annual or short-lived perennial the desert pea flower has a deep scarlet or red keel and wings with a black or dark red centre.
Individual flowers are about 90 mm long and are borne in groups of 5 or 6 occurring in late spring and summer. Typically grown as an annual.
Endemic to the arid regions of Australia and the floral emblem of South Australia.
Prefers light to medium well-drained soil in an open sunny position, drought and frost resistant.
Although seed can be sown most of the year in many parts of Australia seed is generally best sown in spring or autumn in temperate climates, avoiding the coldest and hottest months of the year. The optimum germination temperature for germination is around 18-24°C
Swaisona seeds germinate readily, however, they do have a hard outer coating which is impervious to water. To assist in the uptake of moisture for germination to occur seed is best scarified by pre-treating with hot water briefly for 5-10 seconds prior to sowing.
Hot water treatment is recommended for this species.
General note: Seeds of many natives are dormant and require specific conditions or pre-treatment for germination.
Do not be too hasty to discard seed that does not germinate, seeds will often lay dormant until the conditions are similar to their natural requirements for germination to occur. Containers put to one side will often surprise long after they were discarded.
Image by Sheba (CC BY-SA 2.0)