Perennial, glabrous, twining herb to 1 m; stipules lance-ovate, striate, 2-4 mm; stipellules and bracteoles similar but smaller; lfls 3, ovate, ovate-oblong, or oblong-lanceolate, 3-6 cm, obtuse; peduncle shorter than the petiole of the subtending lf, bearing ordinarily 1 or 2 pale blue or pink-lavender fls 4-6 cm, each fl closely subtended by a pair of bracteoles; cal-tube 10-14 mm, exceeding the triangular-ovate teeth; fr 3-6 cm, tipped by the persistent style. Dry upland woods and barrens; L.I. and N.J. to s. O., s. Ind., Mo., and Okla., s. to Fla. and Tex. June, July. (Martiusia m.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Kearney and Peebles 1969, Martin and Hutchins 1980
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Vine General: Herbaceous, glabrous to puberulent perennial, erect, ascending, or vining, Leaves: Pinnately trifoliate with large leaflets, leaflets ovate or oblong lanceolate, leaves dark green above and lighter in color beneath, stipules persistent and awl-shaped, tapering to a point. Flowers: Lavender, with a large, rounded banner which rises behind the keel portion of the flower like a large, round fan, the banner cleft in the middle; the keel sometimes white and much shorter than the banner, often 2-3 flowers in a cluster, arising from the leaf axils, flowers 5-6 cm long. Fruits: Narrowly oblong pods with several seeds. Ecology: Found in rich soils with live-oaks and junipers, pine forests, from 4,000-6,000 ft (1219-1829 m); flowering July-August. Notes: This lovely plant is easily recognized by its lavender-blue flowers with their large, rounded banner. If flowers are not present, look to the trifoliate leaves which are dark green above and a light, grayish-green beneath. These plants often branch midway up the stem or more. The calyx and leaf axils have thin, awl-shaped, (or lanceolate or linear) stipules. Ethnobotany: An infusion of the plant was held in the mouth for 10-20 minutes to treat thrush. Etymology: Clitoria comes from the Greek kleitoris, for clitoris, while mariana means of St. Mary. Synonyms: Martiusia mariana, Ternatea mariana Editor: LCrumbacher, 2011
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
This species is very rare on the crests of a small number of wooded, sandstone ridges in a few of our southern counties.