Handsome Flat-pea

Description

Common names

Handsome Flat-pea, Flat Pea, Handsome Flat-pea.

Scientific names

Platylobium formosum.

Family

Fabaceae.

Genus

Platylobium.

Name origin

Platylobium, from Greek platys, flat, and lobos, pod, referring to flat pods. Formosum, from Latin formosus, beautiful.

Rainfall

600mm+.

Growth rate

Fast.

Growth height

Up to 2.5m.

Presence in Australia

Widespread, in most areas of the region.

This specie has been identified in the following Australian states: Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, Tas.

Habitat

Various habitats, from heath to rainforest margins.

Habit

Erect, straggling or prostrate shrub, to 2.5m high. Green leaves 1-6.5cm long.

Site preference

Moist well-drained soil in semi-shade. Tolerates frost and drought.

Characteristics

Very variable in leaf shape, leaf size, flowers and pods.

Flowering

Yellow and red, spring to early summer.

Seed collection

Mid to late Dec. Monitor closely as seeds shed immediately or very soon after maturity. Ensure collection by securing nylon stockings or paper bags to fruiting branches after flowering.

Propagation

From scarified seed (which may be difficult to germinate); from cuttings of young growth, or layered stems. Pour boiling or very hot water over seeds and soak until water cools. Dry to prevent rotting and sow. Germination takes 3-4 weeks. Suitable for direct seeding in pots (2-3 seeds per pot). Add local soil to potting mix to introduce beneficial micro-organisms, and enhance success.

Regeneration

From seed, particularly after fire.

Shade and shelter

Useful low-level cover in windbreaks. Important component of understorey.

Land protection

Legume - improves soil fertility through "fixing" nitrogen.

Wildlife

Good habitat. Native bees, wasps and butterflies pollinate flowers. Parrots, including the Red-rumped Parrot and Turquoise Parrot, and finches eat seeds.

Ornamental

Highly attractive ornamental for gardens and embankments, particularly when flowering.

Other

Very adaptable in cultivation.