Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This is our native passionflower Passiflora incarnata (May Pop), much loved by children for their beautiful flowers and lovely rounded green fruits, and much hated by farmers for their perennial and spreading nature. As a child I gathered the green fruits to make the bodies and heads of animals and connected  them with matchsticks and/or toothpicks.While I played, my Daddy tried to cultivate the vines out of existence, a tactic that never worked. It simply broke the roots into more and more pieces so that more and more plants came up. However, it did keep them from choking out the crop.
In 1609 Jacomo Bosio described the parts of the flower as a depiction of the passion of Christ where the tendrils were the lash of Christ's scourging, the anthers represented the 5 wounds, the 3 parts of the stigma were the nails, the fruits were the round world that Christ came to save, and so on through every aspect of the flower.
There can be no doubt that the flowers are uncommonly beautiful and intricate.

This is a Passiflora coccinea, the red passion flower, a native of South America (probably). The foliage is much coarser than P incarnata and overall the vine is much stouter with stronger stems and climbs higher also. I overwinter this one in the greenhouse but i have had it to come back from a planting in the ground if the winter is not too cold and wet.  It blooms from mid/late summer till frost.
This is Passiflora caerulea, the blue passion flower. I planted one of these in the yard this year and it is already springing up several feet from where the original plant is. I have taken cuttings and now I am searching around for the Round-Up. Beautiful, but I do not want to wrap the world in it. It is a more definite blue than incarnata which is lavender.

This picture shows the great diversity in the species. This is also P. incarnata, but is much different from the flowers in the top photo. I cannot remember where I got this one, whether someone gave it to me or I collected it somewhere. It is very beautiful in any case.

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