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Tephrosia brachyodon Domin 1912
pronounced: tef-ROH-see-uh brack-ee-OWE-don
(Fabaceae — the pea family)
subfamily: Faboideae – the bean subfamily
common name: Red Pea-bush
Tephrosia comes from the Greek τεφρος (tephros), ash-coloured, referring to the grey down on the leaves; brachyodon is from βραχυς (brachus), short and, I think, 'οδος (hodos), a way, road. There are at least 6 varieties:
• Tephrosia brachyodon var. longifolia (Benth.) Domin
• Tephrosia brachyodon var. longipes Domin
• Tephrosia brachyodon var. multiflora Domi
• Tephrosia brachyodon var. rufescens (Benth.) Domin
• Tephrosia brachyodon var. cloncurriensis Domin
• Tephrosia brachyodon var. brachyodon Domin
Betsy Jackes† mentions that there are 3 varieties recorded on the island, but does not say which they are, and I do not know the variety of the plant pictured, by the Forts walking track.
The plant is endemic to Australia, occurring right across the top end and down the east coast of Queensland as far as the south-east of the state, at an altitude from near sea level up to about 700 m, usually on sandy soils. It is a widespread and very variable species. This is a shrub or subshrub that usually flowers and fruits when it is 1 – 2 m tall, but it occasionally flowers when it is smaller. The leaves are 5 – 15 cm long, paripinnate, with anything from 3 to 31 leaflets present. The leaflets are lanceolate to oblong or cuneate, 15 – 30 mm long, 2 – 5 mm wide; the upper surface is glabrous, and the lower surface finely pubescent, almost silky; the petioles are 10 – 30 mm long, the petiolules 1 – 2 mm. The rachis of the leaf is distinctly grooved on the upper surface. The stipules are subulate.
The inflorescence is a terminal raceme, and varies from about 6 to 25 cm in length, the flowers being pink to purple, and occasionally white. The calyx is about 3 or 4 mm long, clothed in rusty hairs. As for the petals, the standard is about 9 – 13 by 8 – 15 mm, the wings about 8 – 15 mm long, bigger than the keel. There are 10 stamens, their filaments fused to form a tube that is open on one side.
†Plants of Magnetic Island 3rd Ed. JCU
Photographs taken by the Forts Walk, 2014, 2015
Page last updated 6th March 2016