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Swainsona villosa habit.jpg
Swainsona villosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Galegeae
Subtribe: Astragalinae
Genus: Swainsona

See text.

Swainsona is a large genus of flowering plants native to Australasia. There are 85 species, all but one of which is endemic to Australia; the exception, S. novae-zelandiae, occurs only in New Zealand.

A member of the family Fabaceae (legumes), it is most closely related to the New Zealand genera Montigena (scree pea), Clianthus (kakabeak), and Carmichaelia (New Zealand broom).[1]

Swainsona is named after English botanist Isaac Swainson.

A few species are known to produce swainsonine, a phytotoxin harmful to livestock (see Locoweed). In Australia, animals intoxicated with swainsonine are said to be pea struck.[2]

Selected species


  1. ^ Wagstaff, Steven J.; Peter B. Heenan; Michael J. Sanderson (1999). "Classification, origins, and patterns of diversification in New Zealand Carmichaelia (Fabaceae)". American Journal of Botany (American Journal of Botany, Vol. 86, No. 9) 86 (9): 1346–1356. doi:10.2307/2656781. JSTOR 2656781. PMID 10487821. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  2. ^ "THE DARLING PEA.". The Sydney Morning Herald (National Library of Australia). 14 May 1897. p. 5. Retrieved 16 May 2014.