Plants of
South Australia
Swainsona viridis
Leguminosae
Creeping Darling-pea
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Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

Etymology

Swainsona named after Isaac Swainson (1746-1812), an English scientist and horticulturalist who had a private botanic garden near London. Viridis from the Latin 'viridis' meaning green; referring to the green appearance of the plant.

Distribution and status

Found in dry sandy or stony areas, on the banks or in the creek beds with the main distribution on the eastern side of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. Also found in New South Wales. Native. Rare in South Australia. Very rare in New South Wales.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eastern
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

A prostrate perennial herb to 10cm high with numerous stems arising from a taproot. Leaves 1-6cm long 5-13 obovate leaflets. Flowers small, purple at the end of a long stalk. Fruits are long narrow black pod to 35mm long with a stiff texture. Seeds are dark brown, semi-flat reniform seeds to 2mm long with a wrinkled surface. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between March and December. Collect mature pods, black with hard seeds inside. Mature pods can be found lying on the ground next to the plant containing hard seeds. When dried the pods can become hard and difficult to open. Use a rubber bung to rub the pods or break the pods open with your fingers to dislodge the seeds. 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. From two collections, the seed viability were high, ranging from 80% to 85%. 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:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
3,900 (7.8 g)
3,900 (7.8 g)
3031-Mar-2010DJD1815
Eastern
1-Jun-201085%-18°C
BGA7,900 (21.49 g)25+23-Nov-2010KHB490
Flinders Ranges
1-Jan-201280%-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.