What is butterfly pea?

Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea) is a crawling vine native to Southeast Asia with brilliant blue flowers. This plant has many other names: dok anchan (Thai), aparajita (Hindi), Asian pigeonwings (English), pois bleu or pois papillon (French). Its attractive flowers have been used in cooking and traditional medicine for millennia. Butterfly pea flowers grow in single and double-flowered varieties, and are renowned for their natural bright blue colouring.


Single-flower butterfly pea variety


Double-flower butterfly pea variety
(Image by Sengut2006, CC BY-SA 3.0)

This deep blue colour is due to abundant antioxidants present in the petals. Additionally, these vibrant antioxidants act as a natural pH indicator, and generate spectacular colour changes when citrus juice is added.

For more information on these healthy antioxidants check out “Antioxidants in butterfly pea tea”.

As well as its cultural role in traditional medicine, dried butterfly pea flowers are most commonly used to make tea. They are also a key ingredient in both savoury and sweet dishes, such as dumplings, sago,  desserts and pastries, spicy meat and rice dishes, and congee.

For more information on how to brew butterfly pea tea, read “How to make butterfly pea tea”.

Most recently, dried butterfly pea flowers have enjoyed success in Australia and New Zealand where they are added to artisanal liqueurs and gins, and as a base for colour changing cocktails.


Why flavour butterfly pea tea?

Butterfly pea flowers have a relatively neutral flavour. It can best be described as a light grassy or herbaceous taste, which suits most people. We have also developed three tea blends: chamomile, ginger, and apple-passion (Camomille bleueGingembre épicé bleu, and Pomme-passion bleu respectively). So, regardless of flavour-profile preferences, everyone can enjoy the beneficial antioxidants of Thé Paon’s butterfly pea flowers.

Read about the healthy ingredients we add to flavour our naturally blue tisanes.