Plants of
South Australia
Daviesia schwarzenegger
Large Spiny Bitter-pea
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Coober Pedy
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Daviesia named after Rev. Hugh Davies (1739-1821), a Welsh botanist and an Anglican clergyman. Schwarzenegger named after Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947-), who is the larger of the two characters from the movie Twin and to honour his leadership as governor of California, in pioneering the reduction of carbon emissions. This species was previously included under Daviesia benthamii ssp. humilis (Benthamii named after George Bentham (1800-1884), an English botanist and author, characterised by Duane Isely as "the premier systematic botanist of the nineteenth century" and Humilis from the Latin 'humus' meaning low, referring to the low-growing habit of the plants). Following DNA sequencing, data showed that D. benthamii ssp. humilis comprise of two cryptic species that are not related to D. benthamii, this was unexpected and as an unlikely twin, the authors decided to name the two species after the actors who played an unlike pair of twins in the movie. The characters different growth parallels the different growth habit of the two species.

Distribution and status

Found in the southern Flinders Ranges and the Mid-north in South Australia, growing in drier sites dominated by mallee eucalyptus on clay soils. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Rare in South Australia. Rare in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Northern Lofty, Murray
NRM regions: Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Dense spreading shrub to 1.3 m high and 3 m wide, often suckering from the root, with longitudinally wrinkled stems and phyllodes when dried, stipules absent. Phyllodes terete, to 35 mm long and 2 mm diameter, spreading to slightly ascending, green, smooth, rigid, pungent with spine to 2 mm long. Inflorescence 1 or 2 spike per axil with 2�4 yellow to read pea-flowers. Flowering between September and October. This species is distinguished from D. devito by having no stipules, smaller flowers, having longitudinally wrinkled rather than ribbed branchlets and phyllodes (when dry) and more robust appearance. Fruits are pale brown half-circle pod to 7 mm long and 6 mm wide, with one seed inside. Seeds are brown with black mottled reniform seed to 3.5 mm long and 2 mm wide, and a cream aril. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and December. Collect maturing brown seed pods from the plant using secateurs or by hand. Plant is prickly so it is advisable to wear gloves. Leave the pods in a paper bag to dry for at least a week. Rub the pods gently wiht a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the seeds from unwanted material. Store the dried fruit heads with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat).

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
600 (2.84 g)
1,500 (6.65 g)
Northern Lofty
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.