The lovely Butterfly Pea is easy to grow, a good
climber with beautiful flowers and easy to grow from seed.
One plant which enjoys the extra rain in the start of the
cool season is the butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea, Fabaceae). Its flowers
are cobalt blue and are used by the Thais to dye rice blue, or to make sweet
blue drinks. We prefer to grow the original form with its unique shape,
while the flore pleno mutant with many extra petals are more commonly seen
in the Chiang Mai gardens, as each flower provides more pigment. The origin
of the butterfly pea is obscure, but it is now pan-tropical.
The descriptive name Clitoria was coined by Linnaeus during the burlesque
18th century. However, people worldwide have made the same association as
Linnaeus and therefore the plant has been used to cure venereal diseases and
as an aphrodisiac, according to the Doctrine of Signatures.