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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales

Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Faboideae
Tribus: Phaseoleae
Subtribus: Clitoriinae
Genus: Clitoria
Subgenera: C. subg. Bractearia – C. subg. Clitoria – C. subg. Neurocarpum

C. amazonum – C. andrei – C. annua – C. arborea – C. arborescens – C. australis – C. biflora – C. brachycalyx – C. brachystegia – C. canescens – C. cavalcantei – C. cordiformis – C. cordobensis – C. coriacea – C. dendrina – C. densiflora – C. epetiolata – C. fairchildiana – C. falcata – C. flagellaris – C. flexuosa – C. fragrans – C. froesii – C. glaberrima – C. guianensis – C. hanceana – C. hermannii – C. heterophylla – C. humilis – C. irwinii – C. javanica – C. javitensis – C. juinensis – C. kaessneri – C. kaieteurensis – C. lasciva – C. laurifolia – C. leptostachya – C. linearis – C. macrophylla – C. mariana – C. mexicana – C. monticola – C. moyobambensis – C. nana – C. nervosa – C. obidensis – C. pendens – C. plumosa – C. polystachya – C. pozuzoensis – C. sagotii – C. selloi – C. simplicifolia – C. stipularis – C. ternatea – C. triflora – C. tunuhiensis – C. woytkowskii


Clitoria L., 1753.

Type species: C. ternatea L.


Barbieria DC., Mem. Leg. 241, t. 39 (1825)
Clitoriastrum Heist.
Macrotrullion Klotzsch
Martia Leandro, Denkschr. Königl. Akad. Wiss. München, Cl. Math. Phys. 7: 233. Jul-Dec 1821, nom. illeg. non Sprengel (1818).
Martiusia Schult., Mant. 1: 69, 226. 1822.
Nauchea Descourt., Mem. Soc. Linn. Par. 4: (1826) 7
Neurocarpum Desv., J. Bot. Agric. 1: 119. 1813.
Rhombifolium Rich. ex DC., Prod. (Candolle) 2: 235. 1825, nom. inval.
Rhombolobium Rich. ex H.B.K., Nov. Gen. Sp. 6: 406. 1824, nom. inval.
Ternatea Mill., Gard. Dict. Abridg. Ed. 4 (1754)
Vexillaria Raf., Am. Monthly Mag. 268 (1818)

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Tropics & Subtropics
Alabama, Angola, Argentina Northeast, Arizona, Arkansas, Assam, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Burkina, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Caprivi Strip, Central African Republic, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Delaware, District of Columbia, Dominican Republic, East Himalaya, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Florida, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Guyana, Hainan, Honduras, Illinois, India, Indiana, Iowa, Jawa, Kansas, Kentucky, Kenya, Laos, Leeward Is., Louisiana, Madagascar, Maine, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Mississippi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Carolina, Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Oklahoma, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Réunion, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Dakota, Sudan, Suriname, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tennessee, Texas, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad-Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Virginia, West Himalaya, West Virginia, Western Australia, Windward Is., Wisconsin, Yemen, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe
Introduced into:
Aldabra, Andaman Is., Aruba, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Canary Is., Cayman Is., Chad, Christmas I., Comoros, Cook Is., Egypt, Fiji, Galápagos, Gilbert Is., Haiti, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Laccadive Is., Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Malaya, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Guinea, Nicobar Is., Niger, Pakistan, Philippines, Queensland, Seychelles, Society Is., Solomon Is., Southwest Caribbean, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Tonga, Venezuelan Antilles

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 753.

Additional references

Govaerts, R. 1999. World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b). 1532 pp.. MIM, Deurne. ISBN 90-5720-098-8 (issue 1), ISBN 90-5720-099-6 (issue 2b). Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Clitoria in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 May 12. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Clitoria. Published online. Accessed: May 12 2021. 2021. Clitoria. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 May 12.
Hassler, M. 2021. Clitoria. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 May 12. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2021. World Plants. Synonymic Checklist and Distribution of the World Flora. . Clitoria. Accessed: 12 May 2021.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Clitoria in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 10-Apr-2009.

Vernacular names
suomi: Siniherneet

Clitoria is a genus of mainly tropical and subtropical,[1] insect-pollinated flowering pea vines.
Naming of the genus
See also: Orchidaceae § Etymology

This genus was named after the human clitoris, for the flowers bear a resemblance to the vulva. The first reference to the genus, which includes an illustration of the plant, was made in 1678 by Jakób Breyne, a Polish naturalist, who described it as Flos clitoridis ternatensibus, meaning 'Ternatean flower of the clitoris'.[2][3] Many vernacular names of these flowers in different languages are similarly based on references to female external genitalia.[4]

Controversies existed in the past among botanists regarding the good taste of the naming of the genus. The analogy drew sharp criticism from botanists such as James Edward Smith in 1807, Amos Eaton in 1817, Michel Étienne Descourtilz in 1826, and Eaton and Wright in 1840. Some less explicit alternatives, like Vexillaria (Eaton 1817) and Nauchea (Descourtilz 1826), were proposed, but they failed to prosper, and the name Clitoria has survived to this day.[5]
Blue and white varieties of Clitoria ternatea

As of June 2021, Plants of the World Online accepted the following species:[1]

Clitoria amazonum Mart. ex Benth.
Clitoria andrei Fantz
Clitoria annua J.Graham
Clitoria arborea Benth.
Clitoria arborescens R.Br.
Clitoria australis Benth.
Clitoria brachycalyx Harms
Clitoria brachystegia Benth.
Clitoria canescens Pittier ex Fantz
Clitoria cavalcantei Fantz
Clitoria cearensis Huber
Clitoria chanondii Chuakul
Clitoria cordiformis Fantz
Clitoria cordobensis Burkart
Clitoria coriacea Schery
Clitoria dendrina Pittier
Clitoria densiflora (Benth.) Benth.
Clitoria epetiolata Burkart
Clitoria fairchildiana R.A.Howard
Clitoria falcata Lam.
Clitoria flagellaris (Benth.) Benth.
Clitoria flexuosa Fantz
Clitoria fragrans Small
Clitoria froesii Fantz
Clitoria glaberrima Pittier
Clitoria guianensis (Aubl.) Benth.
Clitoria hanceana Hemsl.
Clitoria hermannii Fantz
Clitoria heterophylla Lam.
Clitoria humilis Rose
Clitoria irwinii Fantz
Clitoria javanica Miq.
Clitoria javitensis (Kunth) Benth.
Clitoria juninensis Fantz
Clitoria kaessneri Harms
Clitoria kaieteurensis Fantz
Clitoria lasciva Bojer ex Benth.
Clitoria laurifolia Poir.
Clitoria leptostachya Benth.
Clitoria linearis Gagnep.
Clitoria macrophylla Wall. ex Benth.
Clitoria magentea Fantz
Clitoria mariana L.
Clitoria mexicana Link
Clitoria monticola Brandegee
Clitoria moyobambensis Fantz
Clitoria mucronulata Benth.
Clitoria nana Benth.
Clitoria nervosa Herzog
Clitoria obidensis Huber
Clitoria pendens Fantz
Clitoria pilosula Wall. ex Benth.
Clitoria plumosa Fantz
Clitoria polystachya Benth.
Clitoria pozuzoensis J.F.Macbr.
Clitoria sagotii Fantz
Clitoria selloi Benth.
Clitoria simplicifolia (Kunth) Benth.
Clitoria snethlageae Ducke
Clitoria speciosa Cav.
Clitoria steyermarkii Fantz
Clitoria stipularis Benth.
Clitoria ternatea L.
Clitoria triflora S.Watson
Clitoria tunuhiensis Fantz
Clitoria woytkowskii Fantz


These plants are native to tropical, subtropical and temperate areas of the world, from western North America east to Australia.[1]

The most widely known species of the genus is Clitoria ternatea, also known as butterfly pea. It is used as an herbal medicine,[6][7] and it is used as food, as well.[8][9] Its roots are used in ayurveda Hindu medicine.[10]

See also



"Clitoria L." Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
Fantz, Paul R. (2000). "Nomenclatural Notes on the Genus Clitoria for the Flora North American Project". Castanea. 65 (2): 89–92. JSTOR 4034108.
Breyne, Jakób (1678). Exoticarum aliarumque minus cognitarum plantarum centuria prima [Exotic and other less-known plants of the first century] (in Latin). Biblioteca Digital del Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid: David-Fridericus Rhetius.
Clitoria ternatea
Fantz, Paul R. (1991). "Ethnobotany of Clitoria (Leguminosae)". Economic Botany. 45 (4): 511–20. doi:10.1007/BF02930715. JSTOR 4255394. S2CID 38939748.
Mukherjee PK, Kumar V, Kumar NS, Heinrich M (2008). "The Ayurvedic medicine Clitoria ternatea-From traditional use to scientific assessment". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 120 (3): 291–301. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.09.009. PMID 18926895.
Fantz, Paul R. (1991). "Ethnobotany of Clitoria (Leguminosae)". Economic Botany. 45 (4): 511–20. doi:10.1007/BF02930715. JSTOR 4255394. S2CID 38939748.
"Flora and Fauna Web: Clitoria ternatea L."[permanent dead link]
Pantazi, Chloe (February 26, 2016). "Watch this tea dramatically change from deep blue to vibrant red with a squeeze of lemon". Business Insider Deutchsland. Retrieved July 2, 2016.

"APARËJITË (Root)" (PDF). The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India (Part I Volume II). Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. pp. 10–11.

Further reading

Data related to Clitoria at Wikispecies

Rai KS, Murthy KD, Karanth KS, Rao MS (July 2001). "Clitoria ternatea (Linn) root extract treatment during growth spurt period enhances learning and memory in rats". Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 45 (3): 305–13. PMID 11881569.

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