You have likely seen this before on fancy restaurant menus or in health foods stores as a herbal tea. Here is what you need to know and why you should definitely start growing & consuming it! Known under the names of Blue Butterfly Pea, Clitoria ternatae, Radha's Consciousness, and probably many others.
This lovely tropical vine ticks all boxes on a Permaculturist's wish list.
1st, its perennial, meaning it goes on and on through the years and seasons without replanting.
2nd, its nitrogen fixing - consistently synthesizing atmospheric nitrogen to enrich the soil.
3rd, it blooms vigorously with vibrant sapphire blue flowers….DAILY…in addition to being drought-tolerant.
4th, it fits perfectly in the principle of Obtain a Yield by fetching a good price in the natural foods market as an herbal tea for a plant that is next to no maintenance.
4th, 5th & so on, Clitoria Ternatae (latin botanical name) is captivating in its color! Vines creep delicately with bright green ever-stretching tendrils and rounded leaves up any wall, rope or nearby tree. Each morning the vines are bejeweled with sapphire gems.
The flowers are not just beautiful to look at, they are used to make refreshing & mood-lifting blue|purple tisanes, as a natural food dye for things like ice creams, kheer, cheesecakes etc, and is easily put through a solar dehydrator and saved for years in its dried from.
This plant is mentioned throughout ancient Ayurveda ('Shankupushpam' | 'Aparajita') as a blood cleaner, general anti-inflammatory and for having an overall cooling and tranquil effect on the mood and spirit. It's roots and seeds are used for multiple specific purposes as well.
Most commonly, you boil the flowers in water to make a lovely blue tisane. From a senses-perspective, this is one amazing drink. The flowers are boiled for a little while in water and then strained. Being a flower of the tropics, it is most deliciously enjoyed chilled, with some lemon juice, and a bit of sweetener (organic unbleached white sugar keeps the color!)
The color is pH sensitive and will turn a vibrant fuchsia with lemon juice or anything acidic.
It's a stellar performer at a lunch or brunch as a substitute to plain water on the table. The flowers bloom so voraciously that you can easily get into a routine of boiling some flowers in water each day and storing in bottles in the fridge. The color really is something to behold, and even if you don't believe in the healing powers Ayurveda & other herbalists speak of, you will undoubtedly enjoy being refreshed by this vibrant color. The color alone is soothing to the soul.
So grow it, enjoy it, dry it & share it, and get this lovely plant into your life.
Perennial in Tropical & Subtropical areas. Summer annual in cold climates, but I'm sure you could make it perennial by growing it in a greenhouse/glasshouse.
Will be available at The Odd Gumnut by January 2021, email us directly to order.
Much love party people! Tisane on.