Nature conservation

Threatened species

Thorny Pea - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Desmodium acanthocladum
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Profile last updated: 29 Aug 2018


The Thorny Pea is a sprawling shrub 1 – 2 m in height and often more than 2 m wide. The branches are rather rigid, though they commonly arch over other vegetation. The leaves are alternate up the stem and are divided into three leaflets, the middle one longer than the other two and up to 2.5 cm in length. The branchlets are scattered with sharp spines. Pink or purple pea flowers are produced in summer and are followed by a sticky seed pod about 5 cm long.


Occurs only in north-east NSW. It is found in the Lismore area, and there are also records from near Grafton, Coraki, Casino and the Mount Warning area.

Habitat and ecology

  • Dry rainforest and fringes of riverine subtropical rainforest.
  • On basalt-derived soils at low elevations.
  • Much of its habitat has been cleared for agriculture.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Known None