Chorizema cordatum

Common name: Heart-leaf Flame Pea

Family: FABACEAE

Chorizema cordatum's pea flowers are hot pink, orange and yellow. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Chorizema: (Greek) from chorizo – to divide, and nema – thread; referring to the stamens that are separate.

cordatum: (Latin) from cordis – heart, referring to the heart-shaped leaves.

Description

Chorizema cordatum, is a small, erect or scrambling WA native shrub that grows up to one metre high and 1.5 metres wide. It occurs naturally in the forests of the south-west on gravelly or loamy soils and is found more commonly in wetter areas; near rocky outcrops, on hills, along watercourses and in winter-wet flats.

As the name suggests, the elongated leaves of C. cordatum are often heart shaped, with slightly undulate margins. However, its most striking feature is its profuse racemes of large pea flowers of hot pink, orange and yellow that when in full bloom transform the plant to a brightly coloured mass of flowers. These flowers may appear anytime from July onwards into late spring, but the main flowering is in the early months of spring.

Like many species belonging to the pea family Fabaceae, C. cordatum is able to 'fix' nitrogen from the atmosphere in nodules on their roots. As such they are often a colonising species which germinate quickly after fire to stabilise the soil and to provide nitrogen. This living fertiliser makes the Heart-leaf Flame Pea a beneficial addition to any garden.

Horticultural tips

  • Propagation is best achieved from pre-treated seed – pre-treatment can be carried out by abrasion or by the use of boiling water.
  • Best planted in well-drained soils in autumn but can do well in heavier soils.
  • It performs very well in shade or semi-shade but also tolerates full sun if well mulched.
  • Little maintenance is necessary once established apart from a light tip pruning after flowering and keep an eye out for seasonal caterpillar attack.
  • Ideal for planting in areas of semi-shade with other native species such as Banksia nivea, Adenanthos cunninghamii and Dodonaea ceratocarpa.
  • For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see this species planted adjacent to John Forrest Memorial and throughout the Western Australian Botanic Garden (refer to map).

Want more information?

Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.

Flowering strands of Heart-leaf Flame Pea found in Kings Park. Photo: D. Blumer. Chorizema cordatum is a small flowering shrub native to Western Australia. Photo: D. Blumer. Heart-leaf Flame Pea can grow up to one metre high and 1.5 metres wide. Photo: D. Blumer.

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