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Parrot pea

Parrot pea

Crotalaria cunninghamii

Family: Fabaceae

Shrub which can reach 2m in height with large, velvety, grey-green leaves. The flowers are yellowish green with purple lines through the petals. When the seeds mature, they make a rattling sound in the pod when shaken.

As with all peas, the flowers have five petals. The standard is the single petal at the top, the two wing petals sit above the two keel petals which are often fused together.

This plant is easily distinguished from other Crotalarias by its large flowers. The flowers spike can reach 25cm tall. It grows in sandy soils and particularly likes the crests of sand dunes.

The plant has medicinal uses as an eyewash and to decrease swelling. The strong, fibrous bark was used by some Aboriginal groups to make sandals and weave into rope.

Where to find this plant at Alice Springs Desert Park

This plant is displayed in the Sand Country habitat adjacent to the second aviary and opposite shelter F.

Latz, P., 2004. Bushfires and Bushtucker, IAD Press, Alice Springs
Moore, P., 2005. A Guide to Plants of Inland Australia, Reed New Holland, Sydney

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