Centrosema virginianum - Spurred butterfly pea
About thirty-five species of Centrosema are native to North America
and South America. Three species are native to
plant, the spurred butterfly pea, is native to the southeastern United States,
including most of Florida,
and through most of South America to Uraguay. It
is a small, perennial vine that can grow to about six feet tall. Showy lavender
flowers are about 1.5 inches inch wide. It is similar to a bean flower except
that the larger “banner” petal is on the lower side of the flower. In this
position, it acts as a landing platform for bees as well as a bright signal for
passing pollinators. Leaves are divided into three leaflets. The vine climbs by
twining around its support. It is considered a high quality forage for
livestock and has been used as a groundcover under coconut and rubber tree
Plants can be seen in natural areas especially among the pines and turkey oaks around parking lot 17 T.
A small vine that climbs to about six feet.
Light: full sun to part shade
Water: very adaptable, drought tolerant in part shade,
Soil: no other special requirements
In nature, spurred butterfly pea is found in a wide variety of habits. It is rare in the nursery trade but is attractive and adaptable enough to be cultivated. As a native plant, this small vine grows easily in north Florida gardens.