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Butterfly pea
(Clitoria ternatea)

clitoria - illustration
  • climbing perennial
  • very palatable
  • best in monsoonal regions
  • useful ley legume for clay soils.


Clitoria ternatea L. -
1 flowering branch;
2 flower;
3 fruit.

Butterfly pea cv. Milgarra was released for grass-legumes pastures in the monsoonal regions with about 1300 mm annual rainfall and a strong dry season.It is a vigorous, persistent perennial plant with fine twining stems

It grows well on loams and clays, showing remarkable persistence, and can tolerate some short-term waterlogging durng the wet season. However, it is not suited to arid conditions, infertile sandy soils or to areas with frequent frosts, flooding or waterlogging.

Clitoria is very palatable, and hence is susceptible to continuous heavy grazing. It persists best when grazed lightly during the wet season and heavily as stand-over feed in autumn during the dry. It combines well with buffel grass, sabi grass or with native pastures to form a mixed pasture.

Large areas of Milgarra are being used successfully as a ley pasture to restore fertility in cropping systems in the Central Highlands of Queensland.

Creator: Ian Partridge
Date created: 18 Mar 1998  Revised: 15 January 2003

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