A visit to Exmouth Gulf, the Bay of Rest, Curlew River, and the islands of Dampier’s Archipelago

6th March 1818

Between 15th February 1818 and 6th March 1818, Allan Cunningham visited Exmouth Gulf, the Bay of Rest, Curlew River, and the islands of Dampier’s Archipelago. On Malus Island, of Dampier’s Archipelago, Allan discovered a third species of “that very beautiful genus” Clianthus ((Source: :Robert Heward’s Biographical Sketch of Allan Cunningham Page 244)) (possibly Clianthus Dampieri, commonly know as Sturt’s Desert Pea or Swainsona formosa)..

The Allan Cunningham Team has reviewed the Wikipedia page re Clianthus and we have decided that the Clianthus mentioned in Robert Heward’s Biographical Sketch of Allan Cunningham was very likely Swainsona formosa more commonly known as Sturt’s Desert Pea. Browsing the internet, looking for the combined words of Swainsona-formosa and Malus-Island, we came across The Australian Plant Society’s Newsletter “Correa Mail” Newsletter 267 August 2011 which published an article by Tony Cavanagh titled “What’s in a name”. The article mentioned Mr Cunningham, and talks about the various attempts to name Cunningham’s Clianthus dampieri. It’s an interesting article demonstrating the complications related to plant identification; we recommend Mr Cavanagh’s article “What’s in a Name” .