Butterfly pea tree


Butterfly pea tree is native to Brazil but is cultivated throughout the tropics for ornament. It reaches a height 40 feet, with a short trunk 2 or more feet in diameter. The bark crown is wide and rounded. The leaves have three leaflets, the central one up to 8 inches long. Flowers are about 2 inches long, fragrant, and are grouped in terminal racemes of about twenty flowers. Fruits are flat pods up to 1 foot long that open suddenly to liberate up to 10 seeds about five-eighths of an inch wide. It flowers mainly during spring and summer, the pods mature during fall and winter. The generic name refers to the flower's structure. The species name honors the American botanist David Fairchild (1869-1954).

The photographed tree is one of twelve specimens planted in 2005 behind the Biology Building. Towards the end of 2009 ten young specimens were planted in front of the Art Museum and Academic Senate Building.

Clitoria fairchildiana (Fabaceae)