What Colours and Where have you seen them - Sturt Desert Pea

Hi All
One question that I have been asked and would like to know is how far wide spread over Australia are the coloured variations in this majestic wild flower. Those that have read my latest blog will see that Roxby Downs can put a great display of Sturt Desert Pea, just like other arid places across Australia, with the big difference that nature throws in some very interesting variations.

Have you seen other colour variations in other parts of Australia?

Just interested to know where and what colours.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: Member - Bucky - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 08:06

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 08:06
Stephen

Wow, never seen white ones before... How awesome !
Only ever seen standard colours.

Seen on side of Oodnadtta, in many places, just spot them now and again, as we were driving along.

Hawker, S.A in a pot plants outside Geoff Morgan Gallery.

East Mcdonald Ranges Caravan Park, Alice Springs have a nice garden of them near the Hall.

The main road in Alice, Railway side of the brick wall, they aer everywhere.

The Living Desert & Sculpture Park, just ouotside Broken Hill.

Just to mentioon a few

Cheers
Bucky


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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 08:10

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 08:10
Hi Bucky
We have seen them in many outback destinations over the years but have never seen before the different variation, they were truly unreal. The white ones were the easiest to find, as from a distance it looked like a piece of paper in the middle of a bright red patch.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: Member - John L (WA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 08:52

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 08:52
Good morning Stephen, The Hamersley Rail line between Dampier & Tom Price can have an awesome display after cyclones - creepers up to 1.5 mts high and a spread over 3 mts. Also along the NW highways. Only variation I have seen has been differing shades of maroon centres.
Could it be the soil trace elements that cause the colour changes - or is Roxby too close to the old atomic testing grounds!
Cheers Heather L
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 09:08

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 09:08
Hi Heather
At the moment the coverage of Sturt Desert Pea around Roxby Downs is enormous, with some sections covering up to an acre in size. I would not put the colour variation down to trace elements, more a freak of nature as the coloured variations are growing just centimetres from the usually dark red or common variety. Roxby downs is no where near the old Atomic Testing grounds, BUT it is a major mining town for the mining of Uranium, but this is mined deep underground. The areas that the flowers are blooming are just typical of any other place that we have seen them flowering in the past, including Western Australia, New South Wales, Northern Territory up in outback Queensland and of course in many locations here in South Australia.

I just make me wonder if these colours are restricted to the Roxby area.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: The Explorer - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 09:07

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 09:07
Recent news article on subject

Sturt's mutated desert peas

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Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 09:13

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 09:13
Hi Greg
Thanks for that but again refers to Roxby Downs as the area where the variations are seen. Have you ever seen any other colours in your travels and if so where.

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Reply By: Member - Boo Boo (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 10:22

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 10:22
The wife and I saw pink, normal and white 30 km towards white cliffs from Wilcannia.

The wife also saw the same out the front of the Tibooburra Hospital.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 13:56

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 13:56
Hi BooBoo
Thanks for that, just what I wanted to hear, showing that it is caused by nature and not just to a specific area.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: Dave B ( BHQ NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 11:46

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 11:46
Stephen, I heard an interview on the ABC the other day.
It was someone doing the arid lands survey, and they said they found green, yellow and even one which had red, white and blue on it.
Very patriotic. No photo of it though.

I have seen plenty of white ones, but this one was out west of the Flinders Ranges.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 14:06

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 14:06
Hi Dave
I bet it is a picture up your way as well. The only way that we found the colours was to spend some time looking around the area where we were told to look. I have just been talking to a local who has their daughter living in Roxby Downs. I brought her into work and showed her my pictures and I had many different colours to what they had seen a few weeks ago when they were up there. One colour that has me green with envoy that they found and photographed was some very good displays of Sturt Desert Pea with a white body and a lemon yellow centre. We were also talking about the solid black that has been seen up there as well and their daughter was going to find out where they were and get some pictures. There is more rain expected in Roxby this coming weekend which will prolong the flowers for quite some time.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 11:48

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 11:48
In our last newsletter Edition 217 on Oct 15, we featured the array of colours currently being seen in outback NSW, especially in Broken Hill - the locals there sent us some of their pics and advised now was the time to head out and see them before they dried up. I'd never heard of or seen the white ones, or the hybrid red/white, and red/brown so was interested to share this with our registered site users via the newsletter. We also gave a link to the Broken Hill place page where you can view the photos we received. Check it out! - Broken Hill in Places.

Thanks, Michelle
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 14:28

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 14:28
Hi Michelle
Yes I did read that newsletter, but it appears that the one in Roxby downs are far greater in colour variations. Friends of ours when they were up there a few weeks ago found many colour variations that we did not find through local knowledge and I have colours that they did not see. One Sturt Desert Pea colour that they found which would have been great was the white flower with lemon yellow centre. There are also solid black ones but they seem to be a fairly guarded secret and they daughter that lives up there is going to ask someone that has seen and photographed them where to get a photo a black one for herself.

Perhaps you could put a call out to all members to send in as many variations as possible, including where they were taken and then people could refer to EO for a complete list of variations in the Sturt Desert Pea family, which could also be of benefit to Government bodies that are looking for colour variations. If you want me, just drop me a line

Just my thoughts.

Cheers

Stephen
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 15:06

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 15:06
HI Stephen,
Thanks for your info. That's wonderful to know. We'll just link this post id to the Finding Wildflowers article which will guide future site readers to this post if they are interested. Members reading this please use this post to add your pics of other variations as suggested by Stephen.

Best regards,
Michelle
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 12:04

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 12:04
Stephen,

Thanks for putting up those great photos, and I am absolutely green with envy that you got to see that flowering!

Have seen a few colour variations here and there, though never a white one or the mauveish ones as in your post. Last year east of Exmouth we came across a few different ones, and also saw some fairly pale ones along the coast in Cape Range NP. Here are some photos of the Exmouth ones.Image Could Not Be FoundImage Could Not Be FoundImage Could Not Be FoundImage Could Not Be FoundImage Could Not Be Found

The most common form is the brilliant red pea with a shiny black spot (or "boss") But there is another fairly common form with a dark red boss. Years ago when I was a student of these things I was told on good authority that the red/black form was distinct from the red/black form. But in recent travels I have frequently seen both on the one plant. My guess FWIW is that the colour has something to do with the minerals in the soil, but also the natural genetic variation that occurs occasionally - this is what plant breeders use to develop different varieties in cultivated plants.

This time last year I managed to grow a few plants in a big pot here in Canberra and got a few flowers about Christmas (sadly no photo though). One plant has made it through the winter so Im hoping for some more flowers this year.

We would have loved to get out to see the flowers this year but unfortunately other priorities called.

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 14:14

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 14:14
Hi Val
Thank you for yet more great variations in colours. From a couple of replies that I have now received, it appears that colour variation is not restricted to one area, but in all areas where they grow. The biggest thing is that you have to take the time to inspect all patches for that one or two plants that may be a different colour.

Cheers

Stephen


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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 15:32

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 15:32
Sorry, will try that again - "that the red/black form was distinct from the red/black form" should have read that the red/black form was distinct from the red/red form. Saw some red/black and red/red on the same plant near Wittenoom last year.

Also meant to say, Im a bit dubious about the "mutation" angle too - just natural variability, especially given the wide geographic spread of these variations. If it was a mutation (especially a recent one) you would expect to only see it in a confined area.

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:42

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:42
Image Could Not Be FoundThe following two photos were taken in the Murcheson a couple of years ago. Querying them with the WA Herbarium was informed that the were the imature flowers on this particular plant. It was massive.

Tony[fi]/MembersImage Could Not Be Found/146639.625/Forum/4[/fi]
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:49

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:49
[informed that the were the] Correction should have said - informed that they were the.
Also, in the full photo you can see the immature ones in the bottom right.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:55

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:55
Hi Val an Tony
Thanks again for your pictures and replies. On a note of your pink on pink Val, have you noticed the red strip on the stem, which is usually green.

Regards

Stephen
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Reply By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 18:00

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 18:00
We saw some purple with black centres on the Mt Dare road last month.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:30

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:30
Hi Pete
Thanks for that and it put more variation in a wide area. I hope you took some pictures and post them here like Michelle has mentioned above.

Thanks for the reply.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:18

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:18
Doesn't count Stephen but many years ago I took my father out to the Innaminka area. A keen horticulturalist, he was so absolutely taken by the thouands of blooming Sturt Desert Peas that he bought some seeds and grew them in pots at his home in Wagga. 'Standard' red and black variety from memory.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:40

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010 at 20:40
Hi Bazooka
Yes they are a very striking flower and I would rate them as my favourite Outback flower. We purchased seeds many years ago and they grew that large that they covered most of our back yard. Quite often you can buy the young plants from good plant suppliers. In South Australia it is illegal to pick the flowers or collect the seeds, so I will make out I did not read that about your dad.

Thanks for your reply.

Cheers

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 at 00:07

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 at 00:07
Clarification Stephen - my father bought the seeds from a legitimate horticultural source when he got back from our trip. He had read that they may be difficult to grow outside their natural environment environment (don't know if this is correct or not) so he was as pleased as Punch when he got heaps of magnificent blooms. Photos are still about somewhere.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 at 07:53

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 at 07:53
Hi Bazooka
Sorry about that, I miss read what you said. Yes they are just fantastic to get growing in a home garden.

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Reply By: Going Bush - Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 at 18:18

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 at 18:18
We saw some red / purple dots in the Pilbara about 6 weeks ago, geotagged photo on flikr, thought they were unusual, also saw what I thought was screwed up paper dotted about so didnt take too much notice, now looking back at other photos I can see they were white flowers, should have been more observant instead of cursing idiots for leaving rubbish lying about.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 at 20:28

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 at 20:28
Hi Going Bush
Thanks for sharing your link.

One of the first things that the lady at the tourist office in Roxby told us was if you see what looks like litter in amongst the bright red clumps of flowers, it is not paper, but in fact white Sturt Desert Peas. It goes from this at a distanceImage Could Not Be Found
to this when you have a closer inspection Image Could Not Be Found

The other colours take some time to find as you go carefully through the large clumps looking for that unusual colour that is just hiding and not standing out like thisImage Could Not Be Found

Cheers

Stephen
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