Clitoria ternatea, common names including butterfly-pea, blue-pea, and cordofan-pea, is a plant species belonging to the Fabaceae family. The flowers of this vine have the shape of human female genitals, hence the Latin name of the genus Clitoria, from "clitoris".
This plant is native to tropical equatorial Asia, but has been introduced to Africa, Australia and America. It is a perennial herbaceous plant, with elliptic, obtuse leaves. It grows as a vine or creeper, doing well in moist, neutral soil. The most striking feature about this plant are its vivid deep blue flowers; solitary, with light yellow markings. They are about 4 cm long by 3 cm wide. There are some varieties that yield white flowers. The fruits are 5 – 7 cm long, flat pods with 6 to 10 seeds in each pod. They are edible when tender.
It is grown as an ornamental plant and as a revegetation species (e.g., in coal mines in Australia), requiring little care when cultivated. As a legume, its roots form a symbiotic association with soil bacteria known as rhizobia, which transform atmospheric nitrogen gas into a plant usable form, therefore, this plant is also used to improve soil quality through the decomposition of nitrogen-rich tissue. In animal tests the methanolic extract of Clitoria ternatea roots demonstrated nootropic, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant and antistress activity. The active constituents include tannins, resins, starch, taraxerol and taraxerone. Other compounds form the pant have shown promise as antibiotics and anti-cancer agents.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.