Climbing butterfly pea

by Eleanor Dietrich

This perennial vine (Centrosema virginianum) grows throughout our area in disturbed areas, fields, roads, and open pinelands. It begins blooming in June and continues on through September. The lovely  flowers are over an inch wide and the colors range from light blue to a darker lavender, usually with a white spot in the center. The narrow leaves are in three parts. The botanical genus name, Centrosema, comes from the Greek words for spur and standard; the standard is the large spreading petal and there is a short green spur right behind the standard. The fruit is a three to five inch linear pod.