Butterfly Pea: Centrosema virginianum


The Butterfly Pea (Centrosema virginianum), a member of the Pea Family, is a perennial vine that blooms all year. The flower’s color varies from purple to light blue and sometimes to white. Its slender trailing and often twisting vine can reach six feet and more. The Pea’s leaves are alternate and pinnately trifolate. The Butterfly Pea likes to climb on other forms of vegetation especially grasses. It likes moist and well drained sandy or limestone soils. Butterfly pea is widely distributed in pineland and coastal habitats. This specimen was photographed in the grassy area bordering the Critical Wildlife Area. It can also be found in the swales along Estero Blvd., and at Bowditch Point Park. The Butterfly Pea got its name because it is the host plant for Skipper butterflies. Besides the Butterfly Pea there are two other species of the genus Centrosema found in Florida.