Tag Archives: Pigeonwings

Wildflower Identification: Clitoria Mariana vs Centrosema virginianum

Outside of a very few states, Clitoria mariana (Butterfly Pea) and Centrosema virginianum (Spurred Butterfly Pea) are the only species in their respective genera most of in the United States.  The Clitoria and Centrosema genera share a characteristic that is rare in Fabaceae – a twist in the pedicel turns the flower “upside down” – the largest petal – the “standard” is below the other petals (keel and wings) rather than above them as is the case with the rest of the family.  These two species appear quite similar, so any confusion in the U.S. with identification is usually between these two species.  There are a couple of key characteristics that can help.

Butterfly Pea – Clitoria mariana or Centrosema virginianum?

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Butterfly Pea – Clitoria mariana – Photos and Information Updated on USWildflowers.com

The Butterfly Pea detail page has been revised with additional photos and information (08/30/2013.)  The scientific name of this native species is Clitoria mariana.  It is also known by the common name Atlantic Pigeonwings.  Photo below was taken in Grundy County, TN on July 12, 2007.  This species was originally added to the USWildflowers database in 2009.

Butterfly Pea, Atlantic pigeonwings - Clitoria mariana

Butterfly Pea – Clitoria mariana

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