|Range of Pultenaea Sm.|
The genus is found in south west Western Australia and the eastern states. It is not considered to be monophyletic with suggestions of splitting it into six separate subgenera, under a larger genus of Pultenaea sensu lato, essentially the Mirbeliea group. The genus underwent explosive starburst radiation, with biogeographical divisions due to the Nullarbor Plain and the Winter/Summer rainfall boundary. Some species rely on fire regimes for germination, and are an understorey dominant and nitrogen fixer.
The genus was first formally described by botanist James Edward Smith in 1794 in A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland, with Pultunaea stipularis nominated as the type species. The latter was described from a living specimen which was raised in Stockwell, England from seed obtained from New South Wales in 1792. Smith named the genus in honour of Richard Pulteney, an English surgeon and botanist, who also was the biographer of Linnaeus. 
Pultenaea belongs to the tribe Mirbelieae, sister to tribe Bossiaeeae; family Fabaceae-Faboideae Pultenaea possibly not monophyletic, and is poorly resolved. Pultenaea sensu lato: 19 genera in Mirbeleae, 430 species However, DNA sequencing supports 7 clades within Pultenaea Sm.: W. A.: P. quaerita; P. ericifolia/P. indira; P. skinner/P. reticulata; and a monotypic P. brachytropis Eastern Australia: subgenera Chaodes, Pultenaea, and Corrickosa
The tribe Mirbelieae and its sister tribe Bossiaeeae has had long isolation in Australia from other Fabaceae families. Pultenaea Sm. underwent explosive starburst radiation during the late Miocene, due to aridity. Geographic speciation factors include east vs. west endemism due to increased aridity and the development of the Nullarbor Plain; subgenera Pultenaea and Corrickosa of eastern Australia split along the Winter–Summer rainfall boundary; subclades within Corrickosa diverged due to marine incursions between South Australia and Victoria. Western Australian species include disjunctions between north and south, and Esperance/Cape Arid. Recent extinctions, possibly due to changed fire regimes and grazing pressure, include P. elusa and P. maidenii.
- Pultenaea daphnoides Wendl. - large-leaf bush-pea
- Pultenaea densifolia F.Muell. - dense-leaf bush-pea
- Pultenaea flexilis Sm. - graceful bush-pea
- Pultenaea gunnii Benth. - golden bush-pea
- Pultenaea juniperina Labill. - prickly bush-pea
- Pultenaea muelleri Benth. - Mueller's bush-pea
- Pultenaea pauciflora M.B. Scott - Narrogin pea
- Pultenaea pedunculata Hook. - matted bush-pea
- Pultenaea rosmarinifolia Lindl. - rosemary-leaved pultenaea, rosemary bush-pea
- Pultenaea scabra R.Br. - rough bush-pea
- Pultenaea tenuifolia R.Br. ex Sims - slender bush-pea
Distribution and habitat
Pultenaea Sm. are restricted to south west Western Australia and temperate and tropical regions of the eastern states of Australia
Pultenaea species are found in sclerophyllous vegetation types varying from forests to heath lands, but absent from arid interior and rainforest regions. Its distribution indicates that the genus is limited by water (arid regions) and sunlight/competition (tropical regions). Eastern Australia contains 87 species,while Western Australia contains 27 species. Four species are found in both regions.
Pultenaea species are understorey dominants, play a role of nutrient cycling as nitrogen fixers, and are an important food source for invertebrates. Like many species of Fabaceae, hard-seeded Pultenaea species require fire for germination and recruitment e.g. P. williamsoniana. A periodic fire regime of at least ten years is needed to allow for maturity. Pultenaea species can be locally abundant, and are abundant along roadsides, possibly due to increased light or disturbance. Threats include clearance and fragmentation of habitat, inappropriate fire regimes, weed invasion, and grazing, which may have led to extinctions of P. elusa and P. maidenii
A number of species are cultivated for their spring flower display. Most of these are fast-growing and adaptable to diverse growing conditions. Propagation is from semi-mature cuttings or seed pre-treated by soaking in hot water.
- P. pedunculata 'Pyalong Gold'
- P. pedunculata 'Pyalong Pink'
- P. villosa 'Wallum Gold'- a prostrate form
- Orthia, L. A.; Cook, L. G. and Crisp, M. D. (March 2005). "Generic delimitation and phylogenetic uncertainty: an example from a group that has undergone an explosive radiation". Australian Systematic Botany 18: 41–47. doi:10.1071/SB04016.
- Orthia, L. A.; Cook, L. G., Crisp, M. D., and deKok, R. P. J. (May 2005). Bush Peas: a rapid radiation with no support for monophyly of Pultenaea (Fabaceae:Mirbelieae) 18. pp. 133–147.
- "Pultenaea". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government, Canberra. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- Smith, James Edward (1793). A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland. London: James Sowerby.
- Crisp, M. (2 May 2009). "Fabaceae tribe Mirbelieae:Pultenaea". The Australian National University. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
- Crisp, M.; Cook, L. G. Klitgaard, B. B., ed. Phylogeny and embryo sac evolution in the endemic Australasian papilionoid tribes Mirbelieae and Bossiaeeae. [Advances in Legume Systematics Part 10. Higher level systematics]. A. Bruneau. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens. pp. 253–268.
- "Pultenaea rosmarinifolia". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government, Canberra. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
- Greig, D. (1987). The Australian Gardener's Wildflower Catalogue. Australia: Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0207154600.
- "List of Registered Cultivars derived from Australian native flora". Australian Cultivar Registration Authority. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pultenaea.|
- International Legume Database & Information Service
- FloraBase - the West Australian Flora - Pultenaea
- PlantNET - New South Wales Flora online: Pultenaea
- Bickford, S. A., et al. 2004. Spatial analysis of taxonomic and genetic patterns and their potential for understanding evolutionary histories. Journal of Biogeography 31 1715–33.