Butterfly Pea Vine By The Roadside

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The shrubs below were seen by the roadside, just outside an old nursery that's not in operation anymore.

The condition of the plant was really good and its stems looked strong with lots of flowers and pods too. A man there told me that many strangers have stopped by and help themselves to the flowers.

This is one common sun-loving plant that can been seen growing in the wild as creepers and on fences as vines.

The Chinese call this plant 'kah yeang shu' (Cantonese) which means 'kaya tree' as its flowers are used as colouring to make blue glutinuous rice (a popular kuih) which is always served with kaya (coconut jam). Besides that, the flower has also been proven to contain a little calcium.

Clitoria Ternatea is the botanic name of this plant. The appearance of the flower has inspired some of its common names such as butterfly pea, Asian pigeonwings and clitoria.

The pods are edible too but only the tender ones are palatable.

The older pods can be used to feed livestock.

I learnt that the roots are bitter and have medicinal properties that can cure chronic bronchitis and remove phlegms. In fact many research studies have been done to identify the antidotal properties of this plant, that is useful for curing eye infections, skin diseases, urinary problems and ulcers.

So this is one plant that's not only useful in the kitchen but also serves as a herb plant as well!

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  1. A wonderfully beautiful and useful plant. It must be quite tough too as it flowers freely and flourishes without help. Interesting to find out the qualities of an unknown plant, this one has many merits.

  2. Not only lovely blue 'eyes' then, but usefull as well. I hope you secured a part of this plant for your garden. Butterfly pea was a lovely name.Have a great evening :)

  3. Hi Steph. That vine is quite popular in Bermuda. It is easily grown. I was not aware that the pods were edible. How interesting.

  4. Stephanie,
    Those flowers are very pretty and I love the vibrant blue color. I wonder if it would grow in Chicago -- and in a container. If so, I'll have to try to get hold of some seeds. Maybe you can snag a few of those pods ;-) Happy gardening!

  5. There is a double flower variety of this plant which grows wildly near my home. Your post is interesting and full of information. Thanks.

  6. That's a really pretty flower! It's really lush - I wonder if it's invasive?

  7. That's pretty...I like the colour of the flowers. Where did u find this?

  8. I always admire these little beauties, they look so brillant during the hot sunny days.

    But I realise there is a setback that when the plant matures, the whole plant & all the vine dries up leaving a clump of dried up twigs.
    Unless new shoots grows & overwhelm the older ones - it is not a pretty sight.

  9. Among my collection of vines, Clitoria ternatea is between the first tree. That kind of indigo
    blue is only seen in Commelina elegans flowers in Puerto Rico. It is still one of my favorites
    of all times along with Antigonon leptopus, perhaps one of the earliest botanic memories
    from childhood. Neither one can be bought in nurseries.

  10. What a luxuriant growth of the roadside vine! It's widely grown here too but I didn't know it was edible. I've heard about the medicinal properties though.

  11. This is certainly a common plant over here. I actually wanted to post this plant in my blog today. Luckily I changed my mind. You have done a good job here with the great photos and informative post. Cheers!

  12. Like the indigo flower!

    Its getting really cold here! we had two days of Rain and some snowfall in the peaks!

    have to move all my pots to a frost safe area.

  13. They are beautiful, not many flowers are so blue. Also interesting that they are edible, an extra treat !
    I enjoyed your post,

  14. Glad to know that you all enjoyed reading about this plant.

    Wendy, nope I don't think that this plant is invasive.

    Deborah, I found this plant at Sea Park.

    Antigonum Cajan, thank you for stopping by and good to know about those two plants.

  15. It's Bunga Telang, Steph. The Nyonyas in Melaka uses it to add blue colour to their kuihs and Nyonya Bakchang.

  16. i also have that one in my post as inspired by Autumn Belle and Kanak. I also have a flower with body part insinuation like your butterfly pea as Clitoria ternatea, i have Centrosema pubescens. Does it ring a bell, hehe.

  17. where can one buy these seeds? Will they grown in Northern Ca? Would love to grow some and try them for medicinal purposes, especially the one for Phlems. villicana.janice@yahoo.com Jan thanks.............

  18. Hello Janice! Nice to know you. Please check your mailbox. Have a great day.



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