Leaf of the Day: Blue Pea, Yellow Parrot Plant and Ginger

Wednesday. I am painting the Blue Butterfly Pea vine Clitoria ternatea ( you can blame Linnaeus for the unduly explicit name!) and the Parrot’s Beak Vine and I also added some tiny Blue Ginger florets to the page, as the vibrant blue of the pea vine needed some balancing up.

The Pea Vine is the deepest velvet blue with purple tints. I used ultramarine and dioxazine violet. The colours look rather raw on the scan and I have no time to adjust them. It looks too blue here, and the original has a darker purple at the edges not black.

The Parrot’s Beak caused me endless problems in identification and I am actually updating this post on Sunday, as, having painted the wretched thing, I could not find any information about it anywhere. All I came up with for “parrot’s beak vine” was nothing like this flower. In the end I have had to cycle down to Leu this morning just to find the ticket again. It is the parrot vine but this one is Gmelina phillipensis Parrot’s Beak not Lotus maculatus Parrot’s beak which is quite different. It was a nuisance but turned out to be a worthwhile visit as I have found more very interesting things..including a rare turquoise flower.. quite amazing.

The little Blue Ginger florets are from the central spike of flowers of the Dichorisandra thyrsiflora. This is actually the spiderwort family not a true ginger at all but the plant has a ginger-like habit.

Its particular form of flower spike is termed a thyrse and as long as the growing conditions are favourable the thyrse will continue developing, adding flowers to the top. It appears that this is another flower which, despite not offering nectar, relies on bees for pollination. The flowers produce a food pollen for the bees which they seek by shaking the flowers. This disturbs the pollen and the bees receive both food and a dusting of real pollen. This is picturesquely called “buzz pollination”, more about that soon.


Blue Butterfly Pea Vine, Parrot’s Beak and Blue Ginger florets