Blue / Butterfly Pea Flower

Annie’s extended family on her father’s side is from George Town, Penang, and every time we’ve gone to visit, we stayed with family. Usually, that meant staying with Annie’s godparents, her uncle and aunt. They are such hospitable and kind folks, and we always loved spending time with them.

Staying at their place is pretty cool because it’s in a relatively quiet neighborhood, but with quick access to some main roads if we want to go somewhere. We could be sitting at home, chatting (usually about where we want to go eat) and the next minute be on our way out for some assam laksa, char kway teow, or nasi kandar.

The neighborhood itself is very walkable. Many times I just take my camera and go wandering off in one direction, looking for neat stuff to snap. It was on one of these jaunts that I came upon a fence that was completely covered in this dense vine, bearing these incredibly blue flowers:

Blue Pea / Butterfly Pea Flower

Butterfly Blue Pea Flower

OMG

These were what is known in Malay as “Bunga Telang”, the Butterfly Pea or Blue Pea. It’s scientific name is Clitoria ternatea, because the shape of the flower looks like that part of the female genitals. The plant is native to tropical Asia but can be grown in many climates, even here in the United States, according to Dave’s Garden.

The vines totally engulfed the fence, and the beautiful blue pea flowers were sprinkled throughout the mass. I got really excited and went back to fetch Annie and the kids to enlist their aid in picking some of these flowers. The house inside the fence was undergoing a complete renovation, so I was sure no one would mind if we collected some flowers.

Butterfly Pea / Blue Pea Growing on the Fence

Butterfly Blue Pea Flower growing on fence

The flowers were easy to pluck off. Just pinch at the base and give a little tug.

Picking Blue Butterfly Pea Flowers

Picking Butterfly Blue Pea flower

We collected a bag full of pea flowers to take home to Kuching.

Bag Full of Blue / Butterfly Pea Flowers

Bag full of Butterfly Blue Pea flower

What to Do?

What was I going to do with them? Well, Malaysians and other Southeast Asians use this flower to make a blue-colored tea extract, and then use that extract to color food, usually rice. I was hoping to do this with the flowers I collected.

Unfortunately, the flowers did not survive the trip back from Penang to Kuching. Sadly, they had gone bad and I could not use them.

Here are some ways that other bloggers use Blue / Butterfly Pea Flowers:

Butterfly Pea Flower, Blue and Purple Food Color Extract by Pranee’s Thai Kitchen
Pulut Inti Nyonya Kuih by Rasa Malaysia
Pulut Tai Tai by My Kitchen Snippets
Kuih Seri Muka by A Daily Obsession
Blue Rice (Nasi Kerabu) by Jewel Pie

How would you use bunga telang? Leave us a comment below!

Aloha, Nate

I am entering this post in the Weekend Herb Blogging #400 roundup, organized by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything and hosted this week by Terry from Crumpets & Co.

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41 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Terry says:

    I wonder if i can find these flowers here in Italy near where i live…. Thanks for thia entry for the WHB… Loved the ideas you shared! Intriguing! :)
    Terry

  2. Ling Yuen Chin says:

    Wow!! is difficult to find this flower in Kuching! I try to find the seeds but can’t!! U r lucky!

  3. Michelle says:

    The flowers make for some very delicious blue tea! You can order only the dried flowers online at bluechai.com

  4. Li Ti says:

    If you reside in Singapore, you may buy Blue Pea Flowers/ seeds from me :) Spread the plant around!

  5. Faizah Omar says:

    Hi. I was wondering if I could purchase the flowers from you? How much are you selling them for and in what quantities?

    • Nate says:

      Faizah,

      thanks for your comment / question.

      We do not sell the flowers. There are links in the comments to places where you can purchase the seeds online.

  6. m says:

    Hi, i sell the blue pea plant, flowers and seeds in Singapore.
    M

  7. Helen Tjow says:

    I would like to buy the blue butterfly pea flower for baking bread and brewing tea.

  8. SawSS says:

    I have some sun dried blue pea flower, hand pick daily from my garden. Please email me if you would like to buy. I am from Penang.

    • zhen guang says:

      can u share your wechat id or email address? do you sell dry clitoria ternatea in penang?reply me via email address thx alot

  9. Monica says:

    Hi, I’m interested to buy blue pea flower seeds to plant.

    But I live in an apartment with no fencing near my unit…..and some potted plants on the balcony of the lift landing.

    Is that possible?…

  10. olivia says:

    I am selling dried blue pea flowers. if u are interested,please contact me.i am fr Johor

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi Olivia, how much are you selling for the blue peas flowers?

  12. Saw says:

    I have fresh as well as dried multi petal blue pea flowers for sale. Contact 0164982717.

  13. sharon says:

    I am from Davao City Philippines, I also sell Butterfly pea.. air dried flowers and seeds.
    Comes from my own backyard..my garden!
    just email me if you want to buy..shaelle_vzr@yahoo.co.uk
    thank you!

  14. Marie Foo says:

    Hi
    I am selling organic sun dried blue pea flowers.
    Pls check out my fb page Have A Cuppa Blue Tea.
    For orders, pls whats app or sms 92379517.

    Marie

  15. Bridget Stacey says:

    Do u sell butterfly pea dried flowers n how much per kilo

  16. zc says:

    you can contact fishphen@gmail.com or visit https://carousell.com/p/70177873/?rank=3 to purchase butterfly pea flower

  17. M says:

    Hi, all blue pea fans,
    I sell the plant, flowers and seeds through MyLittleGardenShop.
    Many happy customers since 2012. Please email me.
    M

  18. Yan says:

    Hi, i would like to purchase blue pea flower seeds to grow, please comtact me to let me know how i could go about purchasing from you. Thank you!

  19. Guia says:

    Hi! How much do u sell the blue pea flower?

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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