The genus Daviesia consists of around 200 species, all of which are Australian endemics. They can be found in most states but mainly in the south-west of Western Australia. All are small to large shrubs.
Daviesia latifolia is a multi-stemmed, medium to large shrub usually to about 2 metres high but occasionally taller. The leaves are leathery, elliptical or lanceolate in shape and up to 150 mm long x 50 mm wide. Like some other species (eg. Daviesia mimosoides), the leaves could be described as flattened stems (phyllodes), similar to many acacias.
The flowers have the typical “pea” shape consisting of 4 petals; the “standard”, the “keel” and two “wings”, as shown in the diagram. The flowers are yellow with reddish/brown markings and occur in clusters from the leaf axils. Flowering generally occurs in spring to early summer and flowers are followed by elongated, flattened seed pods.
Daviesias are sometimes grown by enthusiasts but the genus is not in widespread cultivation. This is a pity as there are a number of species that would make excellent subjects for cultivation. D.latifolia is one of these as it has an attractive growth habit and is very colourful when in flower. Plants require a well drained soil in a sunny or partly shaded position.
Propagation is easy from seed following pre-treatment to break the physical dormancy provided by the impervious seed coat. Pre-treatment can be carried out by abrasion or by the use of boiling water (further details can be found in under the “Propagation” tab of the “Pea Family” page). The seed retains viability for many years. Cuttings may be successful but are often slow to strike and may not produce a vigorous root system.
Photo: Brian Walters