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Clitoria mariana


Clitoria mariana (known by the common names butterfly pea or Atlantic pigeon wings), is a perennial forb.


The plant is native to the eastern, southern, and central United States west to New Mexico and Arizona.<ref name="USDA">Template:Cite web USDA, NRCS. 2014. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov)Template:Dead link. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.</ref> It is also found in Asia, in: Bhutan, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and southern China (Guangxi, Yunnan) <ref name="efloras">Template:Cite web 'eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet (http://www.efloras.org)Template:Dead link. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.</ref>

In the United States it has been recorded in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.


Botanical illustration of Clitoria mariana (1913)
Watercolor of Clitoria mariana by Mary Vaux Walcott (1934, Smithsonian American Art Museum collection).

The ascending, sometimes twining stem of Clitoria mariana is 45 to 60 centimeters long. The leaves are pinnately trifoliate, borne on petioles with stipules. The thin, smooth or slightly hairy leaflets are ovate, 2.5 to 11 centimeters long, and 1.5 to 5 centimeters wide.

It produces purple flowers in summer. The flowers are axillary, usually solitary, and resupinate. The calyx is tubular. The corolla of the flower is about 5 centimeters long, its wings and keel much shorter than the standard.

The fruit is a linear oblong pod, 25 millimeters long and 5 millimeters wide.<ref name="efloras" /><ref>Britton, Nathaniel Lord & Brown, Addison (1887). An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British possessions: from Newfoundland to the parallel of the southern boundary of Virginia, and from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the 102d meridian, Volume 2, p. 333. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.</ref>


It is listed as an endangered species by the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.<ref name="USDA" /> The range of Clitoria mariana also includes parts of India, Bhutan, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Chinese provinces of Guangxi, and Yunnan.<ref name="efloras" /> In Virginia, it grows in habitats such as dry open forests, shale barrens, and rocky or sandy woodlands.<ref>Template:Cite web Virginia Botanical Associates. (2014). Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora (http://www.vaplantatlas.org)Template:Dead link. c/o Virginia Botanical Associates, Blacksburg.</ref> The presence of this species is dependent on appropriate habitat, and it may be eliminated from an area by development, changes in land use, or competition with invasive species.



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