Passiflora incarnata L. - Passion Flower

Passiflora incarnata plant

Family - Passifloraceae

Stems - Vinning, glabrous to minutely pubescent, herbaceous. Tendrils present.

Leaves - Alternate, 3-lobed, serrulate, petiolate, to +15cm long, +13cm wide, glabrous. Petioles with two glands near base of leaf blade.

Passiflora incarnata leaves

Inflorescence - Single pedicillate flowers from leaf axils.

Flowers - Very interesting. This flower exhibits a corona which is a structure of appendages situated between the corolla and stamens. In the picture the corona is the ringlike structure of purple and white appendages above the petals and sepals. Flower is typically 6-7cm broad. Petals 5, sepals 5, purplish to whitish, similar, alternating. Styles 3. Stamens typically 5. Sepals 5, greenish-white, with a terminal appendage.

Passiflora incarnata flower

Passiflora incarnata sepalsSepals

Fruit - Fleshy, ovoid to globose, green at first, yellowish-red at maturity.

Flowering - June - September.

Habitat - Thickets, disturbed sites, waste ground, roadsides, railroads. Also cultivated.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This plant and its relatives have an edible fruit often seen in drinks as "Passion fruit". Some folks like it, some don't. In his particular species the mucilage around the seeds of the fruit is quite sweet and delicious.
The genus name comes from the story of Jesus in Christianity, the "Passion". The flower parts are telling of the story. The petals and sepals are representative of the disciples of Jesus, except for Judas and Peter. The stamens, numbering 5, represent the wounds of Jesus. The stigmas, because of their shape, represent the nails used in the crucifixion. The corona represents the crown of thorns.

Photographs taken in Daytona Beach, FL., 7-2-02, and off Lee Rd. 27, Auburn, AL., 7-26-05.


Back