Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Clitoria ( Sangu malli ) in Vellalore

Clitoria is a genus of flowering plants that are insect pollinated.

Clitoria (253000626)
These plants are native to tropical and temperate areas of the world, including southeast Asia and madagascar, where the flowers are often used as a food dye or dipped in batter and deep fried. The most widely known species of the genus is Clitoria ternatea, also known as Butterfly pea. It has medicinal uses and it is used as food as well. Its roots are used in ayurveda Indian medicine. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it has been used for centuries as a memory enhancer, nootropic, anti stress, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, tranquilizing and sedative agent.

Naming of the Clitoria genus

Clitoria has a very interesting name among all the flowers. This genus was named after the human female clitoris, 

This genus was named after the human female clitoris, for the flowers bear a resemblance to female genitals. Originally the first described species of the genus was given the name Flos clitoridis ternatensibus in 1678 by Rumpf, a German-born botanist employed by the Dutch East India Company. It was regarded as appropriately named by Johann Philipp Breyne in 1747.  Many vernacular names of these flowers in different languages are similarly based on references to a woman's sexual organ. There were controversies in the past among botanists regarding the good taste of the naming of the genus. The analogy drew sharp criticism from botanists like James Edward Smith in 1807, Amos Eaton in 1817, Michel Étienne Descourtilz in 1826 and Eaton and Wright in 1840. Some less explicit alternatives, like Vexillaria (Eaton 1817) and Nauchea (Descourtilz 1826), were proposed, but they didn't prosper and the name Clitoria has survived to this day.

But what baffles me is how we see this flower. We in Tamil Nadu have such a perception so that this flower looks like a Turbinella pyrum (chank shell, sacred chank or chank) , but the europeans see it as a clitoris. Well to be honest, it looks much more like a clitoris than a crank shell.

சங்குப்பூ வெள்ளை, கருநீலம், ஊதா, வெண்மை கலந்த கருநீலம், ஊதா கலந்த கருநீலம் என பல நிறங்களில் காணப்படுகிறது. தோற்றத்தில் சங்கின் விரிவாய் போலத் தோற்றம் தருவதால் இதனை இவ்வாறு கூறுகின்றனர். நீல நிறப்பூவை கருவிளை என குறிப்பிடுகின்றனர். ஏழு வண்ணங்களில் ஒன்றான நீலநிறத்தைப் பஞ்சவண்ணங்களில் ஒன்றாகக் காணும்போது கருமை எனக் கொள்வர். இந்த வகையில் இது கரிய விளைப்பூ. குன்றத்து மகளிர் குவித்து விளையாடிய பூக்களில் இதுவும் ஒன்று. வெள்ளை நிற சங்குப் பூவை செருவிளை என குறிப்பிடுவர்.

Clitoria (253000626)

Clitoria MS4124

Clitoria ternatea butterfly pea flower Kambalakonda Visakhapatnam


White Clitoria ternatea

Clitoria ternatea butterfly pea flower at Bhadrachalam 02

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