Sturt's Desert Pea
- Size: Low spreading ground cover up to 3m wide and 30cm high.
- Leaves: Dull green leaves are made up of 7 pairs of oval-shaped leaflets. Stems leaves and pods are covered in short soft hairs.
- Flowers: Red flowers are arranged in upright stalks in groups of 3 or more. Each flower is up to 9cm from the top of the standard to the base of the keel. The standard is the large petal with the black dome at its base. In some plants the dome may be red and albino varieties with completely white flowers have been found in the Pilbara.
- Pods: The pods are hard and light brown when ripe and if shaken the seeds rattle inside them.
What to Observe
- How Many plants
- First fully open single flower
- Full flowering
- End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
We expect plants to start shooting and flowering earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas, as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.
When To Look
June to October for flowering
Where To Look
Found from the North-western coast, east into the desert and south to Kalgoorlie and the Nullabor Plain. It is also found in all other Australian states.
The map below displays the accumulated observations of these species as reported by ClimateWatch observers, together with the layer showing how the range of the species might change between now and 2085, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, and green areas where the species range might expand.
Napier, J. & van Leeuwen, S. 2008, Common Plants of the Pilbara, Department of Environment and Conservation
Woodley, M et al Wangalili Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma Plants, Juluwaru Aboriginal Corporation,
A distinctive and iconic species, unlikely to be confused with any other when in flower
Did You Know?
Although named after the early explorer, Charles Sturt, this legume was first collected by William Dampier on an island in the Dampier Archipelago in 1699.
Floral emblem for South Australia
Sturt's desert pea is one of Australia's best known wildflowers