Platylobium formosum

Platylobium formosum

Platylobium formosum, also known as Handsome Flat-pea, is a shrub which is endemic to Australia . It is a member of the family Fabaceae and of the genus Platylobium.


The species is an erect or straggling shrub with wiry stems which usually grows to a height of between 1 to 2 metres. The leaves are opposite with very short, almost unnoticeable petioles. The leaf surface has a pronounced reticulation of veins on the surface and is dark green above and lighter below. The leaf size ranges from 2 to 5 cm in length and 1 to 2.3 cm in width.

The flowers appear in spring, between September and November in their native range. These are orange-yellow with a red centre, with red markings in the centre, on the tip of the keel and on the back of the standard. and are supported by a long stalk which is covered by hairs and arises from the leaf axil. The pods which follow are flat, glabrous or hairy and about 2 to 4 cm in length.


The species was first formally described by botanist James Edward Smith in 1793 in A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland. The specific epithet formosum is derived from the Latin word for beautiful.

The are currently two recognised subspecies:

  • Platylobium formosum Sm. subsp. formosum
  • Platylobium formosum subsp. parviflorum (Sm.) A.T.Lee, which has a narrower leaf which does not have the cordate base of subsp. formosum .


This species is found in Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. It is common and widespread in habitats ranging from heathland to rainforest margins.


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