Centrosema plumieri (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Centrosema plumieri (Turpin ex Persoon) Benth.

Family: Leguminosae - Papilionoideae


Clitoria plumieri Turpin ex Persoon.

Vernacular names

  • Butterfly pea (En). Pois piant, cocotte ferme (Fr)
  • Indonesia: kacang katropong (Sundanese).


Native to tropical America, introduced into Africa, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, where it is also found naturalized. It is occasionally cultivated pantropically.


A shade-tolerant cover crop in plantations of cocoa, rubber, coconut and oil palm, now largely replaced by C. pubescens Benth. Used as green manure in sugar cane and in grassland improvement.


Perennial trailing and winding herb, almost glabrous, woody at base. Leaves trifoliolate; leaflets ovate-elliptical, 5-7 cm × 2-13 cm, subglabrous. Inflorescence an axillary raceme with 1-10 flowers, up to 7 cm long; calyx 7-8 mm long; standard white or purple, pubescent, 4-6 cm in diameter. Pod 8-20 cm × 9-16 mm, beak 1-2.5 cm long, 4-ribbed. Seed up to 1 cm long, dark brown to black. C. plumieri nodulates well, but is not adapted to acid soils. Green manure yield is up to 16 t/ha. In Florida (United States), C. plumieri performed better than C. pubescens ; in Belize (Central America) "CF 16-1" was reasonably productive.

Selected sources

52, 70, 96, 101, 174.


M.S.M. Sosef & L.J.G. van der Maesen