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Clitoria ternatea


Clitoria ternatea L.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common Name: Butterfly Pea, Blue Pea, Blue Vine, Pigeon Wings, Mussel Shell Creeper, Bunga Telang, 蝶豆, 蝴蝶花豆


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular


Native Distribution Pantropical
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Naturalised))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a slender climbing legume with short, soft hairs on the stem. It has deep roots and ornamental flowers.
Foliage Its stalked, alternately-arranged leaves are pinnate with 5-7 elliptic or ovate leaflets, 2.5-5 cm long. Each leaflet is thinly papery or membranous, and measuring 2.5-5 cm long and 1.5-3.5 cm wide.
Flowers Its solitary flowers bloom in colors ranging from white to pink, to light or dark blue, funnel-shaped, 4 cm by 3 cm, single or paired, standard obovate, notched or rounded at apex, blue with yellow base, or entirely white.
Fruit Its fruits are linear-oblong pods, 5-11 cm long and 0.7-1 cm wide, with a long pointed tip.
Habitat It is widely cultivated in gardens and sometimes seen growing wild in disturbed, open spaces.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are pollinated by insects.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed. The plant prefers full sunlight to semi-shade, and is adapted to a wide range of soil conditions, from sands to heavy clays with moderate fertility. Roots are deep rooted which fix nitrogen, thus, improving the quality of the soil.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Flowers
Food (Herb and Spice): The flowers are used to extract a blue, edible dye that is used in making traditional Malay pastries.
Medicinal: Traditionally, roots are used to treat abdominal swelling, sore throats and mucus disorders. Juice from the roots is mixed with cold milk as a remedy to remove phlegm and chronic bronchitis. Root powder or root juice is used as an effective remedy for abdominal swellings. Seeds mashed with honey helps relieve tonsillitis.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for growing in parks and gardens, on trellises, pergolas or fences for its attractive blue flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses Skyrise / Balcony, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Trellis / Arbour / Pergola
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils, Easy to Grow
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Papery
Foliar Type Compound (Trifoliate, Odd-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Obtuse
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Purple, Blue
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Bilateral

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Legume / Pod
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Moderate (6-10)

Image Repository



Master ID 76
Species ID 1372
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 10 August 2022.