Last week I posted a photograph of an unidentified pea flower, which was subsequently identified by John as a Smooth Parrot-pea (Dillwynia glaberrima).
As John mentioned in his comment, Dillwynia species of plants have a few distinguishing characteristics, and once I was alerted to these, I couldn’t resist looking up the Smooth Parrot-pea in Enid Mayfield’s field guide ‘Flora of the Otway Plains and Ranges 2‘ which includes very detailed illustrations of a number of pea flowers. Happily, the Smooth Parrot-pea is one of them.
Armed with all of this information (thank you John and Enid) I will attempt to explain the distinguishing features as simply as I can.
According to Enid Mayfield, Dillwynia species have almost cylindrical leaves with a groove along the leaf on the upper surface. The leaf of the Smooth Parrot-pea is long, thin, hairless, and has a ‘recurved’ tip, meaning the tip of the leaf curves back. The stem is also hairless. In fact, the name attributed to the plant, ‘glaberrima’ stems from the word ‘glabrous’ a term used by botanists to indicate that a section of a plant is hairless.
Smooth Parrot-pea flowers grow in small ‘pedunculate clusters’ which essentially means they grow in groups of 2 to 6 flowers on a stem which forms off the main stem.
Pea flowers have five petals. The large upright curved petal at the back, called the ‘standard’; two small side petals (often not noticed) called ‘wings’; and the two petals which stick out to the front in a wedge shape, called the ‘keel’. In Parrot-pea (Dillwynia) species, the standard petal is always wider than it is high. This is such a useful piece of information to have as I can immediately see that some of my unidentified photographs from last year are Dillwynia. So there is a chance I may yet identify them if I keep learning.