Seeds of South Australia
Swainsona fissimontana (Leguminosae)
Broken Hill Pea
List of species for Swainsona
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Seed collecting:
October to November
Herbarium regions:
Flinders Ranges, Eastern
NRM regions:
Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA regions
Broughton (FLB02)Flinders Lofty Block
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Olary Spur (FLB03) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Southern Flinders (FLB04) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Northern Flinders (FLB05) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)
Central Flinders (FLB06) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [weeds, grazed]
Curnamona (BHC06)Broken Hill Complex
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Murnpeowie (STP03)Stony Plains
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [grazed ]
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Diamantina-Eyre (CHC04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
RSCA map:
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion. Please click the thumbnail map.
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Swainsona]
Name derivation:
Swainsona named after Isaac Swainson (1746-1812, an English scientist and horticulturalist who had a private botanic garden near London. Fissimontana from the Latin 'fissi' meaning split and 'montana' meaning of the mountain; referring to Broken Hill, near the location where the type specimen was collected.
Found in stony, sandy or clay-loam soils on plan or hill-slopes in the northern Flinders Ranges and northward in South Australia. Also found in New South Wales. 
Native. Common in South Australia. Common in New South Wales.
Plant description:
Erect or ascending perennial herb to 50cm high with a number of hairy stems arising from a rootstock.  Leaves mostly 4-6cm long with 7-13  hairy narrow-elliptic to elliptic leaflets. Flowers pink to dark-purple with 3–11 flowers on a stalk. 
Fruit type:
Pod elliptic, mostly 15–25 mm long, black and covered with hairs.
Seed type:
Dark brown, mottled, semi-flat reniform seeds to 3mm long with a wrinkled surface.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Collect mature pods, those turning black and contain hard seeds. Mature pods can be found lying on the ground next to the plant.
Seed cleaning:
Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for a week. 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.
Seed viability:
From two collections, the seed viability were high, ranging from 90% to 100%.
Seed germination:
This species has physical dormancy that need 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
2950 (10.63 g)
2950 (10.63 g)
BGA3400 (9.03 g)50+25-Nov-2010KHB442
Flinders Ranges
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.