The Fabaceae family of plants is named after the Latin word faba meaning bean. It refers to the shape of the fruits of these plants. Fabaceae are the third largest family of land based plants after those containing orchids and daisies. You know Spring is almost here when the species with pea-flowers start to blossom. Over the past month several species have appeared.
False Sarsparilla or Purple Coral Pea (Hardenbergia violacea), pictured left, is hard to miss. The deep-purple flowering vine is very conspicuous on steep slopes and climbing up trees and shrubs.
Common Hovea (Hovea linearis), pictured right, has been flowering for a couple of month now. It is a ground creeper with blue-purple flowers.
Austral Indigo (Indigofera australis) has pink-purple flowers. Traditionally the leaves were crushed and added to water to kill eels and fish. Its leaves produce a yellow dye.
Narrow-leaf Bitter Pea (Daviesia leptophylla) is pictured right. At least it’s not purple.
Watch for these in your travels and let peas be with you.