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Butterfly Pea

Common name for a vine in the Fabaceae family, with the botanical designation Clitoria ternatea. Whereas the first part refers to the shape of this climber's flowers which resemble the intimate parts of the female anatomy, the second part derives from the Indonesian Island of Ternate, where this species was first recorded. This evergreen plant is native to tropical, equatorial Asia, but has been introduced to other parts of the world. It twines up to 3.5 meters high and has slender stems with fresh green leaves. The large flowers, that grow up to 5 centimeters, are pale lilac with a yellow centre, and the plant's seeds sit in flat pods, that hang underneath the flowers. In Southeast Asia, the flowers are used as a colouring agent or additive in food, and both in Thai and Burmese cuisine, the flowers are dipped in batter and fried. Furthermore, the plant is used as a medicine in Ayurveda. In Thai, this creeper is known as anchan (อัญชัน).