Glycine tabacina, the Glycine Pea
Glycine tabacina, the Glycine Pea, is a creeping trailer or climber with slender stems. The leaves are trifoliate (a compound leaf with three leaflets). The terminal leaflet is the longest. The pea-shaped flowers are about six millimetres long, blue, violet or purple and carried in axillary clusters. Flowering occurs from mid-spring to early autumn. The flowers are followed by linear pods up to three centimetres long which twist when ripe and release from 3-6 hard coated seeds. Ants may assist in seed dispersal.
The Glycine Pea twines around nearby plants. It is not easily seen until the plants flower.
G. tabacina is found in all eastern mainland states as well as South Australia and Western Australia. The species may be rare in South Australia but common in eastern Australia and Western Australia.
The tap roots are edible and were reported to be eaten by Aboriginal people. The roots are said to have a liquorice flavour.
G. clandestine is a similar species. The main difference is in the leaf size and shape. The best known member of the genus is the exotic G. maxi, the well known and widely eaten soybean.
Propagate from seed that should be treated with boiling water to soften the seed coat or by cuttings.
Warren and Gloria Sheather