Clitoria fairchildiana R.A. Howard

Etymology Genus After clitoris; since the flower anatomy resembles the female's sexual organ
Species After David Grandison Fairchild, an American botanist
Family Fabaceae
Synonyms Centrosema spicata Glaz., Clitoria racemosa Benth.
Common Names Butterfly Pea Tree
Status Exotic: Cultivated Only
Form Tree
Native Distribution Brazil


Clitoria fairchildiana has a spreading and sparse crown. The leaves are trifoliate with perisistent stipules. The flowers are pea-like and purple in colour.

Interesting Facts:

The Butterfly Pea Tree has several anti-inflammatory compounds (rotenoids) isolated from the roots (da Silva & Parente, 2002), supporting the use of other species, particulary Clitornia ternatea, in traditional medicine.

Form of the Butterfly Pea Tree in Punggol Park

The leaves are trifoliate.

Back of leaflet.

A pair of leafy stipules.


The legume.


da Silva BP & Parente JP. (2002) Antiinflammatory Activity of Rotenoids from Clitoria fairchildiana. Phytotherapy Research, 16: 87-88.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2012-08-10 / Modified: 2017-12-29