Alpine Rusty-pods RBG Tasmania/Flickr

Alpine Rusty-pods

Low, spreading shrub growing to 15 - 50 cm high and 1 - 1.5 m in diameter.

Stems and branches are densely arranged and covered in small hairs. The hairs are white-grey or brown/tan towards the tip of the branchlets.


The leaves are narrow-oblong in shape and between 1 - 3.2 cm long and 3 - 7 mm wide. The bases are round and the edges of the leaf are bent downwards. The upper leaf surfaces are green, nearly glossy, hairless and smooth with obvious veins. The lower leaf surfaces are covered with cream, pale tan or orange-tan hairs that become white or grey with age. The leaf stalks are between 2.5 - 3.7 mm long.


Flowering occurs between October and December. Pea-like flowers have petals that are deep mauve in colour. The flowering parts of the alpine rusty-pods are stalkless and usually 2-flowered. The flower stalks are between 2 - 5 mm long.


The fruits of the alpine rusty-pod consist of a pod that is broad in profile and approximately 10 mm long. The outer surfaces are covered in a golden-brown mat of hairs. The seeds are approximately 4 mm long, 1.8 mm wide, and blackish.

Field Guide

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Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower

  • Full flowering (record all days)

  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)

  • Open seed pods containing seeds (record all days)

Climate Adaptations

Climate change will directly affect the ecological communities in which this alpine species resides. An increase in temperature and extreme heat events will reduce viable habitat for this species.

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

  • Flowering October to December
  • Mature fruits present in January to March

Where To Look

  • South-eastern Victoria, NSW and central Tasmania
  • Grows at high altitudes in grassy slopes, subalpine heath or in snowgum woodlands
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

The Latin epithet of its name montana refers to mountains or coming from mountains.

Similar Species

In Tasmania it is similar in appearance to the Rockfield Purple Pea (Hovea tasmanica).