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Butterfly Pea, Atlantic pigeonwings - Clitoria mariana

Family: Fabaceae - Pea family Genus Common Name: Pigeonwings Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Vine Herb
Clitoria mariana - Butterfly Pea, Atlantic pigeonwings. There are about 60 species of Clitoria worldwide, but only a few are found in North America. Three are found in Puerto Rico, C. fragrans is native to central Florida, and C. ternatea is a 5-7 foliate introduced species found rarely in a few southern states. Clitoris mariana is the one most likely to be found by the rest of us since it is in most eastern states from New York south to Florida and westward to Minnesota and Arizona. Because of the few other Clitoria species in the United States, Clitoria mariana is more likely to be confused with Centrosema virginianum - Spurred Butterfly Pea - than with another Clitoria species.

Found in:
AL, AR, AZ, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, WVJuly 12, 2007 Grundy County TN

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Clitoria mariana

Distribution of Clitoria mariana in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 21 Jan 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Grundy County, TN Date: 2007-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Clitoria mariana is unusual in that the "standard" is below the smaller petals rather than above them. Note the long corolla tube, a diagnostic for this species.
Clitoria mariana

Site: Grundy County, TN Date: 2007-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Konica Minolta Dimage Z2
The leaves of Clitoria mariana are trifoliate, with the leaflets up to 2.5 inches long. The vine can be up to about 3 feet long.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Clitoria mariana

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2018
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer