Centrosema virginianum (PROSEA)

From PlantUse English
Jump to: navigation, search
Logo PROSEA.png
Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Centrosema virginianum (L.) Benth.

Family: Leguminosae - Papilionoideae


Clitoria virginiana L.

Vernacular names

  • Spurred butterfly pea (En).


Widely distributed from the southern United States to Uruguay and Peru. Cultivated mainly in the United States, in subtropical Australia, and occasionally elsewhere.


Grown as a green manure and cover crop for erosion control and as a component of pastures. It also has some value as an ornamental.


Perennial, scandent herb with slender stems. Leaves alternate, trifoliolate; leaflets ovate-lanceolate, 2-7 cm × 1-3 cm. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, up to 6 cm long, 2-4-flowered; flower purplish to white, 2.5-4 cm long; calyx deeply 5-lobed, 8-10 mm long; standard suborbicular, 2-2.5 cm in diameter; stamens 10, monadelphous. Pod straight, 4-13 cm × 3-5 mm, 16-20-seeded. Seed 3-4 mm long, whitish. C. virginianum is mainly found in the semi-arid tropics and the subtropics, rarely in the humid tropics. Selections from the lowland tropics require high temperatures, growth being reduced when the night temperature falls below 16 °C. Some selections from tropical highlands or the subtropics survive light frost. It nodulates well with commercial centro ( Centrosema pubescens Benth.) Rhizobium . Cultivars have been developed in Australia as alternatives for siratro ( Macroptilium atropurpureum (DC.) Urban).

Selected sources

32, 33, 50, 70, 144, 147.


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