Sankhupushpam is a beautiful vine plant with blue or white flowers. It is called Butterfly Pea in English. The flowers are similar to that of other pea plants.
Sankhu in Malayalam means a conch. If you watch closely, the flower has a remote resemblance to a conch. So that may be the reason behind its common name in certain languages.
Its scientific name is Clitoria ternatea and belongs to the family Fabaceae.
As per Ayurveda, Sankhupushpa has several health benefits. However, besides Kerala, in other parts of India, Convolvulus microphyllus is considered as Sankhupushpa whereas C. ternatea is called Aparajita. So that creates a bit of confusion.
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Plant Type: Perennial Vine Herb
Scientific name: Clitoria ternatea
Flowers: Blue or White
Common Names in various languages:
English: Butterfly Pea, Butterfly Bean
Sanskrit: Aparajita, Sankhapushpi
Malayalam: Sankhapushpam, Sankhupushpam
For medicines, ornamental, religious offerings
The leaves are ovate in shape and grow opposite.
Sankhupushpam occurs in different varieties, both in the shape of flowers and colors.
There are mainly three varieties found in India. However, they do not occur together on the same plant.
This is the most common variety. The inner side of the corolla has a yellow patch.
This variety is also common, often treated as C. ternatea alba.
In the double-flowered variety, the flowers have darker blue color compared to the normal variety. It is less common.
The fruits appear as seed pods which can be 10 cm long. Each pod contains up to 10 egg-shaped seeds, which are yellowish-brown.
Medicinal: Sankhupushpam has various applications in Ayurveda and traditional medicines. It may improve intellect and memory power. The roots and flowers have medicinal values.
Apart from medicines, the blue and white flowers are used for offerings and poojas in Hindu temples, mainly for Lord Vishnu.
Being a climber plant, it can be grown as an ornamental plant in gardens.
As a plant native to the tropical areas of Asia, Sankhupushpam is common in India. But not in Asia alone, it is present in other continents too.
Like many other tropical plants, Sankhupushpam also prefers moist soil and good sunlight.