Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday, 3 February 2020

The White Dragon Tree of Northern Australia - Sesbania formosa

 Hi everyone, it is a little while since I last blogged about our Half Lap of Australia last year, but today I thought we would continue as I still have lots to show you. My last blog post was back in December when we were at Kakadu in the Northern Territory - you can see it here if you missed it - Exploring country - Kakadu, Northern Territory

From Kakadu we continued south to Mataranka (you can see the spot up in the northern section of the Northern Territory map below) where we stayed for a few days exploring and relaxing in the thermal pools.  More about that later. 

Today I want to tell you about one of my favourite northern Australian wildflowers - the White Dragon Tree - Sesbania formosa. This has been an favourite of mine since we first saw one flower high up in a tree Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley of Western Australia in 2012. 
 The species name is from the Latin formosus meaning beautiful, referring to the flowers, which are the largest of any in the Australian pea family.

When we arrived in the Bitter Springs caravan park at Mataranka we were given a site beneath one of these beautiful trees. There were many more flowering in the area where we were. Oh bliss! 

 The White Dragon Flower belongs to the pea family. The tree grows to 12-15 metres high and bears large creamy-white fragrant flowers arranged in sprays. Their petals are about 10 centimetres long. The smooth slender pods are about 70 centimeters long and the seeds are bean like. You can see the pods in this photo. 

 They flower from May to September, and fruit August to September and grows in the Kimberley, Pilbara, and Northern Territory, with a small occurrence in Cape York in Queensland in Australia, usually in wet black mud of seasonal swamps and floodplains or along watercourses. The tree is fast growing but usually short-lived - about five to seven years.  
The maps below shows the distribution in Western Australia and Northern Territory

Other English names are swamp corkwood, dragon flower tree, and water tree. 
The Western Australian aboriginal Bardi name is rirwal or arninyban, and the Yuwuru name is rirwal.
 The Northern Territory Aboriginal Language Names: Jaminjung, Ngaliwurru, Nungali: Jangarla (Jam, Ngal, Nung). Jaru: wirrwirr. MalakMalak, Matngala: Lurrklurrkma (Mal). Ngarinyman: Jangarla. Wagiman: garnbit

The flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. Australian Aboriginals used an infusion from the inner bark for treating sores and general illness.  Dishes could be carved from the wood.

 For more information:
Flora Base - Western Australia
Flora Northern Territory

Bush Books - Common Plants of the Kimberley - Dept of Conservation & Land Management, Western Australia

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed learning about the White Dragon Tree. Do you have a favourite native wildflower? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. 

I hope to be back for more about our exploration of Mataranka in the Northern Territory. 

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.


  1. Hello, Jill! I like the name of this tree, White Dragon Tree. The blossoms are beautiful. I love all the wildflowers! Enjoy your day, wishing you a great new week!

  2. The photos of the flowers are just exquisite!! I'm speechless! Have a grand week!!

    1. amazing aren't they. I wish I could have shown how big they are. Next time!

  3. What a lovely flowering tree! Doesn't it smell gorgeous. I imagine it smells like orange with Simosa in he name but I could be wrong.

    1. unfortunately they were so far up in the tree I couldn't get my nose anywhere near them! But I have no doubt that the birds were loving them.

  4. Beautiful flowers and so wonderful that not only are they lovely but great to snack on LOL and for medicinal purposes.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  5. I am always amazed at the uniqueness of plants there! Never seen anything like it here.

  6. Jill - I can see why you adore the White Dragon Tree. The petals look so luxurious. Interesting that it is part of the pea family - must be the RICH cousin of the pea family! My favorite Montana wildflower is the Columbine. Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

  7. The White Dragon tree certainly captures my imagination. Tiny dragons ready to take off to spread joy and peace throughout the world. Hope all's well with you.

  8. Beautiful photos of an unusual tree. I can see why it's your favorite. I don't know if I have one that's a favorite, but I do like dogwoods and magnolias.

  9. Your captures of the white dragon flowers are stunning! At the end of the post, I realized I have seen this tree in the Huntington library garden - just did not recognize it. Many thanks for sharing this interesting and fragrant part of your journey with All Seasons. Can imagine that your long journey will be in the front of your memory for many years! Have an adventurous week:)

  10. That's a beauty! Similar to our red kaka beak flowers, but I really like the white :)

    I'm so glad to see you at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

    My Corner of the World

  11. That is beautiful. I love the cherry blossom. Common here in the spring but it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

  12. I've never seen anything like this! Gotta love Australia!

    Happy Thursday, Jill!


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.