The Butterfly Pea should be in every South Florida landscape.

The Butterfly Pea should be in every South Florida landscape. 

Life in The Fruit and Spice Park is like driving a winding country road, towards a destination well known.

The twists and turns are familiar, yet there are still surprises to keep it interesting. This year seems to be passing at highway speed.

Ideally, our year would pass like the country road, giving us time to take in the sights. So in the spirit of slowing down to appreciate the simple joys

surrounding us, this month I will highlight a thing of beauty, as well as utility.

The Butterfly Pea, Clitoria ternatea, is a vining perennial with striking deep blue flowers. As a legume, it produces pea pods that are edible when young and tender, but it is the flowers that are the main attraction. Their deep, bright blue color is used to make tea, and color rice in many cultures in tropical Asia. This is another plant that should be in every South Florida landscape. It

requires little care once established, and can be propagated (and shared!) easily by seed from the copious amounts of peas produced. Simply give this beautiful butterfly something to climb and away she will go.

Please purists, please resist the urge to take me to task for using the word “tea” to describe what is technically described as an infusion.

We also grow proper Tea, Camelia sinensis, but I will leave that huge

subject for another day.

To make the drink, simply take petals or whole flowers of the butterfly pea and steep or boil in water.

Most often, other ingredients are added, like honey, sugar, and lemongrass. Adding lemon juice will turn the mixture purple, for an interesting effect. Some also freeze the mixture in ice cube trays to make deep blue ice cubes.

I would also like to remind readers about our upcoming Heritage

Festival and Craft Fair, to be held on December 14-15, 2019 here at the

beautiful Fruit and Spice Park. We will have expanded food and music selections to suit all tastes, with a local emphasis. We are calling all local artists or craft vendors to exhibit and sell at this fantastic pre-holiday opportunity. 

Please contact the park office at 305-247-5727 for more information, and watch our website redlandfruitandspice.com for updates.

So here we are back around to the winding road and all of its charms. The subject of this article came to me quite by accident, as I stopped to discuss some recent plantings with our ever diligent Horticulturist and Volunteer

Coordinator, Louise King.

I looked to my right, and beheld the dazzling blue flowers of the Butterfly Pea. It was quite by chance that we chose to have our conversation at that exact spot, but it was just the inspiration that I needed.

As you travel your own winding road, I hope it leads you here to the Fruit and Spice Park, and I hope you find beauty along the way.

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