Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Hardenbergia violacea (Schneev.) Stearn

Slender Vine
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Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Stearn, W.T. (1940) The Journal of Botany 78: 70.

Common name

Climbing Morning Glory; Purple Twining Pea; Sarsaparilla, Native; Native Sarsaparilla; Sarsaparilla, False; False Sarsaparilla; Native Woodrose; Sarsaparilla; Pea, Purple Coral; Purple Coral Pea; Pea, Purple Twining


A slender vine not exceeding a stem diameter of 2 cm.


Leaf blades about 5-5.5 x 2-2.5 cm, petioles about 1.5-2.5 cm long. Stipules triangular, glabrous, up to 4 x 1 mm.


Calyx tube about 3 mm long, the lobes about 1 mm long except for one pair which are fused together almost completely. Petals: standard about 9 x 10-11 mm, mainly purple except for a green 'eye' near the base; wings about 8 x 3 mm; keel about 6 x 2 mm. Stamens10, one stamen free from the rest which are fused together by their filaments to form a tube 3-4 mm long while the upper sections of the filaments remain free. Ovary about 3-3.5 mm long. Ovules five to seven.


Fruits about 40 x 9 mm. Seeds about 4 x 1.5 mm. Testa mottled brown in colour. Hilum pale brown.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards to Tasmania and South Australia. Altitudinal range in NEQ from 900-1200 m. Usually grows in open forest or wet sclerophyll forest, sometimes in rain forest margins or in disturbed areas of mountain rain forest. Also occurs in New Guinea (?)

Natural History & Notes

F.M. Bailey, then Colonial Botanist of Queensland, wrote that the bushmen of that State used Hardenbergia and considered it a valuable medicine. Maiden, however, described its virtues as purely imaginary. Cribb (1981).

May cause a colic-like condition in horses. Unlikely to be palatable. Roots have been used as food by Aborigines. Sometimes cultivated as a garden ornamental. Hacker (1990).

Glycine violacea Schneev., Icones Plantarum Rariorum 1: 29(1781), Type: Locus natalis. Nec de huius vero loco natali certiores sumus. Videtur vero ex eadem patria advenisse. [G. rubicunda Schneev.].
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