Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Christia vespertilionis The Red Butterfly Wing

It was love at first sight when I saw this plant at a nursery. It has leaves that looked like purple butterflies in flight. I really liked it. I place the flower pot next to my blue daze and peace lily plants. I enjoyed its beauty for about a week or so before it suddenly dried up and left me for good, taking with it my 3 peace lily plants too. I think it died from some kind of disease because I find white spots on the soil.

The plant was blooming well and there was no sign of any disease. There is this nursery near my home where I like to buy plants but many of the plants don't live long. There is another nursery quite far away but the plants are all good and don't die on me, even those that look like dead can be revived back to life after some watering. 

Do you have a similar experience? 

Scientific name: Christia vespertilionis
Synonyms: C. vespertilionis var., vespertilionis, Hedysarum vespertilionis, Lourea vespertilionis

Common name: Red Butterfly Wing, Island Pea, Mariposa (butterfly in Spanish)
Family: Pappilionaceae / Leguminosae / Fabaceae (bean family)
Origin: Southeast Asia and Brazil

Catergory: Ornamental, herbaceous shrubs

This plant is grown more for its variegated foliage than the small flowers. They have spindy stems that arch upwards. Requirements:

Soil mix should be loose and well draining but keep it moist and do not let it dry out. The soil medium should be neutral to mildly acidic.
Sun: Prefer partial shade in the outdoors but can tolerate full sun or indoor shade.
Water: Regular watering schedule
Propagation is by herbaceous stem cuttings and by seeds. Allow seedheads to dry on the plants before you remove and collect the seeds.
This plant grows well in Zone 10-11. It can reach a height of 2-3 ft. Makes a good container and indoor houseplant.

As I know, our nurseries here in Malaysia do not regularly stock up this plant. Therefore, do buy it and have fun growing it when you see the plants available for sale in your area.

For further reading, please visit the following sites:
a) Daves Garden here.
b) John&Jacq's Garden here.

Christia vespertilionis The Red Butterfly Wing”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ on March 20th, 2011.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
~Rabindranath Tagore

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years.
~Abraham Lincoln

I am glad that I was able to enjoy its beauty while it was still alive, no matter how short the time.  It won't deter me from trying again.


  1. Lovely purple butterflies nature is so amazing. You are saying the color is 'red' butterfly wing but its looked like purple?

  2. Wow! It truly is a beauty and is unique! Fortunately (touchwood) I have never had mystery deaths. I hope you get hold of this plant again and hope it lives long...

  3. What a wonderfully colorful and unique plant. Enjoy this new beauty in your gardens.


  4. Stronki nie da się przetłumaczyć (internet). Nie mogę poczytać o tym pięknym kwiatku, a szkoda. Pozdrawiam

  5. It is a beautiful and unusual plant. I hope it lives:). I often end up with an impulse purchase when I go to a nursery, such is a gardener's life. Good luck with your wonderful plant.

  6. Pretty plant, but too bad it passed away... good luck next time...

  7. Gosh, that is too bad the plant didn't live long and it sounds like it infected your other plant. Darn! It's a beauty! I seem to have more luck with some plant shops than others, too. Generally, the quality of plants from large discount variety stores hasn't been as good as that of businesses that specialize in perennials and annuals.

  8. i saw this butterfly plant at the nurseries too. very pretty and unique. i have same issue esp with flower plants bought from nurseries. they will often die after 2-3 weeks. now i buy hibicus as they r more hardy.

  9. Autumn Belle, i am back! We have lots of them here too, but i just learned its name now.

  10. Hi Authumn Belle,

    I just join your blog and its so breathtaking to see many beautiful plants.I love gardening too and this is my blog Seriemas Gardens and at the same time i do bakings too which is my other blog Aida's Kitchen. My handicap is I can never remember the names of all these plants...
    I do have the red butterfly wings but not as lively as yours...hope we can share ideas..I am in Nilai, NS.
    Terimakasih to you too.

  11. Autumn,
    I I found your blog again and really enjoyed your photography - beautiful!

    And I love that plant... definitely like butterflies on the wing. I will have to look it up in the US.


  12. That is so pretty! I would definitely try it again, too. It's strange about the nursery deaths. Sad, but I would have to start going to the one farther away.

  13. This is lovely purple plant! I have been hunting for it so long! You bought from Sg. Buluh?

  14. It's beautiful and i'm sorry to hear it died. Nurseries along KK road sell a lot of beautiful plants but the plants i bought from there don't stay for long.

  15. I am glad you were able to get a photo before it died.
    I think you should keep is a pretty plant and worth it.

  16. Bananaz, sometimes I see red, sometimes I see purple, maybe it is purplish-red or reddish-purple, haha, scratching my head now.

    Chandramouli, lucky you!

    FlowerLady, it is indeed a beautiful plant with the leaves more striking than the flowers.

    Masha, Yes! going to nurseries is like going shopping at the department stores, so much fun for gardeners.

    PlantPostings, you are right. The quality is better at the nurseries who are the growers themselves.

    Petite Nyonya, you are smart to choose hibiscus. There are really many many choices with the flower shapes and colours.

    Andrea, welcome back! You really had a wonderful time while away judging from your current post.

    AidasKitchen, Welcome to My Nice Garden!

    Wife, Mother, Gardener, thanks for visiting me again. Hope you come back more often.

  17. HollyGarden, must be due to the different level of care that was given by different nurseries owners to cause the difference in plant quality.

    Malar, I made the mistake of buying the last one standing from a nursery in Klang that I know always has poor quality plants.

    Milka, whenever I come across a nursery that sell good plants, I will always go back there. But this case happened becasue of my impulse buying :(

    Rosey, Oh I am so thankful I have taken photos of its glory before it passed away. Now, it is for fond rememberance.

  18. Giga, you mean you can obtain information from the internated in Polish regarding this plant? I have updated my post to include more information on how to grow it.

  19. That is a beautiful plant, Autumn Belle. It's too bad that it didn't make it; will you try another one? -Jean

  20. Jean, yes! I will definitely try another one. You see, these plants are not commonly available at our local nurseries. When they are for sale, I will definitely buy again. Earlier, I had made the mistake of grabbing 'the last one standing' which happened to be the healthy looking plant with an 'invisible' disease, haha.

  21. Your pictures are absolutely breathtaking! I love your blog!

  22. Hi dear friend! Thanks for the link to my post...appreciate that very much. Great've focused well on 'their lovely wings'!
    They're marvelous and fuss-free, a joy to have. Hope you'll be able to enjoy them again sometime soon.

  23. How sad it didn't make it - It really is a lovcely plant.

  24. I have just bought this plant and I was delighted to see that it is flowering. I hope I can keep this plant healthy for a very long time :)

  25. What a beautiful blog. I also love gardening and I have plants like that! :)

  26. Do you know if there are nurseries selling this plant in Klang valley?
    There is also another species in South East Asia which is green in color.

    1. I have seen such plants at Sg Buloh nurseries, i.e. Selangor Green Lane, Old Sg Buloh, etc.

  27. Hy Autumn Belle and friends,

    Its good you share this others. Well I just want to share.. I hope you don't mind.. with permission.. My co-operatives in Gombak has sell this green Christia Vespertilionis dry leaves as a herbs. We plant this in natural farming or organic mechanism. No chemical fertilizers use. The dry leaves is good for anti-canser, high blood and related with body blood cell. We need to boil it for 10 to 15 minutes. For those

    For those who need can email at


    1. I'm not aware that the leaves can be eaten or not. But I don't mind sharing your contact with readers who may be looking for more information about this plant.

  28. would like to know the properties as the dry tea leaves


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