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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 and 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 (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 14 May 1897. p. 5. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 


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