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Clitoria ternatea (Voigt) Fantz f. albiflora

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Synonyms: Clitoria ternatea var. albiflora
Common Name: White Butterfly Pea Vine
Full Sun Moderate Water Butterfly Host Plant Ornamental Flowers Climber, Vine and Liana


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Infraspecific 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
Maximum Height 1.2 m to 5 m


Native Distribution Caribbean, Cuba, India
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

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. Each leaflet is thinly papery, and measuring 2.5-5 cm long and 1.5-3.5 cm wide.
Flowers Its solitary flowers bloom in white colours, pea-shaped, 4 cm by 3 cm, single or paired, standard obovate, notched or rounded at apex.
Fruits Its fruits are linear-oblong pods, 5-11 cm long and 0.7-1 cm wide, with a long pointed tip.
Habitat It is cultivated in gardens and sometimes seen growing wild in disturbed, open spaces.
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 clay with moderate fertility. Roots are deep rooted which fix nitrogen, thus, improving the quality of the soil.
Etymology The genus Clitoria means clitoris, which refers to the flower parts. The specific epithet ternatea means from Ternate, Maluku Islands, Indonesia.  Forma albiflora means white-flowered. 

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for growing in parks and gardens, on trellises, pergolas or fences for its attractive white flowers, apart from the usual blue flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Moist Soils
Landscape Uses Vertical Greenery / Green Wall, Container Planting, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Trellis / Arbour / Pergola
Thematic Landscaping Moonlight Garden, Naturalistic Garden
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks pH 6.6 to 7.5

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Potential Problems No serious pest or disease problems. Aphids can cause severe defoliation & poor general health.
Pest(s) Sucking Insects
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting
Propagation Method Remarks Allow seed pods to mature & dry on plant before collecting them.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Thin, Papery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Smooth, Papery, Thin
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oval, Ovate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Obtuse
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

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

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Bilateral
Individual Flower Shape Papilionaceous / Pea-shaped
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Legume / Pod
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Moderate (6-10)

Image Repository



Master ID 79
Species ID 1375
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: 19 August 2021.