Plants of
South Australia
Swainsona pyrophila
Leguminosae
Yellow Swainson-pea,
Yellow Darling Pea
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
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Extinct
Data deficient
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Hawker
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 4

Common names

Yellow Swainson-pea

Yellow Darling Pea

Etymology

Swainsona named after Isaac Swainson (1746-1812), an English scientist and horticulturalist who had a private botanic garden near London. Pyrophila from the Greek 'pyr' meaning fire and 'philos' meaning lover; referring to the germination of the species post fire (fire-lover).

Distribution and status

Found in South Australia on the Eyre Peninsula with a few records from Yorke Peninsula and the Murray region, growing in sandy soils in mallee. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. A fire responsive species. Native. Very rare in South Australia. Very rare in other states.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Yorke Peninsula
NRM regions: Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Short lived perennial shrub to 1 m tall with green leaves and reddish stems. Flowers are yellow pea-flowers with veins on the petals. Flowering between September and December. Fruits are large bladder/balloon shaped pods turning a straw colour when matured. Seeds are dark brown reniform seeds to 2mm long with a wrinkled surface. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and January. Collect mature pods when drying off and turning red with hard brown seeds inside. Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for a week. Then rub the pods by hand and use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. Seed viability is high for this species. This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat). This is a fire responsive species and usually found in areas a year or two post fire.

Fire response

Obligate re-seeder.

Longevity: 2 year

Time to flowering: 1 year

Recovery work

In 2020-2021 this species was assessed post-fire in 1 year old fire scars. A total of 162,200 seeds have been collected & banked for 2 populations inside the 2020 fire scar. Germination screening testing the response to fire cues will be undertaken in 2021.This project was supported by the World Wildlife Fund program.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA24,800 (79.27 g)3029-Oct-2014DJD3063
Murray
1-Jan-201685%-18°C
BGA5,500 (20.01 g)1129-Oct-2014DJD3060
Murray
1-Jan-201695%-18°C
BGA590 (1.54 g)50+4-Apr-2019TST1418
Eyre Peninsula
24-Apr-2019100%-18°C
BGA2,300 (6.72 g)24-Nov-2009MJT257
Eyre Peninsula
1-May-2019100%-18°C
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.
Germination table:
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