Sturt’s Desert Pea

Spectacular red flowering, desert living Sturt's Desert Pea or Ngooringa photographed in a sandy location.
Sturt’s Desert Pea flowers, a native of all mainland Australian states with the exception of Victoria.

Swainsona formosa or Sturt’s Desert Pea.

Sturt’s Desert Pea, Swainsona formosa, or if you prefer the indigenous name Ngooringa, is a striking wild flowering plant native to each mainland state of Australia except Victoria.

The flower of Swainsonia formosa is generally a vibrant red with a contrasting black boss (centre). But there are many variations, including a naturally occurring white flower and many natural hybrids ranging from pink to pale reds and even a cream-coloured flower.

Sturt's Desert Pea, Swainsona formosa or the indigenous name Ngoooringa, spectacular red flowering desert plant, this one with ruby red centre.
Sturt’s Desert Pea flower with ruby red centre instead of the normal black.

The centres also vary in colour from dull reddish browns to deep glossy black. Sturt’s Desert Pea is usually a prostrate plant. However, there are reports of plants growing up to two metres tall in Western Australia.

Flowering from Spring to Summer, the most spectacular occurrences happen after heavy rain. That isn’t a surprise, as this Australian native plant prefers dry inland semi-arid regions.

Swainsona formosa is the floral emblem for South Australia. It has been a favourite of artists and photographers for many years. For tourists who venture into more remote parts of Australia’s inland, spotting large patches of brilliant red flowers in the desert is a joy.

A creatively cropped photo of a Sturt's Desert Pea with rain drops on it.
Sturt’s Desert Pea flowers, covered in rain drops with a creative crop and selective focus applied.

Stock Photos of Sturt’s Desert Pea.

Are available from our stock Archive HERE. As always all of our stock images are created in-house and are 100% Australian content, and 100% Australian owned. Back home to

Masses of Sturt's Desert Pea, Swainsona formosa flowering near broken Hill, NSW Australia.
Swainsona formosa or more commonly known as Sturts Desert Pea, or Ngooringa, grows in arid and semi- arid regions of all Australian main land states with the exception of Victoria. The flower is the Floral emblem of South Australia.