The species of the week is the Purple Passion Flower, Passiflora incarnata. Most Passion Flowers originate from South America with large flowers that bloom during springtime. When traveling through South America, Spanish missionaries labeled this unique-looking flower as the “Flor de las cinco lagas” or the flower of five wounds because they believed it represented the crucifixion of Christ. The plant has since been commercialized and has spread to countries ranging from Australia to the United States.
Surprisingly, Passiflora incarnata does not originate from the tropics but rather is native to Texas and Oklahoma. Due to its springtime bloom, it is commonly called Maypop and produces a purple fruit that can be harvested in late summer or early fall. Purple Passion Flower has several layers to its flower with big, smooth petals at the base followed by thin, needle-like structures and five short and wide stamens at the top of the flower.
Purple Passion Fruit is not only a food source for humans but is also very popular with pollinators. If you are looking for a low-maintenance method to help with pollinator conservation, look no further. P. incarnata requires low to medium watering and can survive in either the sun or the partial shade. It is a vine that climbs surfaces and can grow up to 36 feet, making it both an ornamental showstopper and an effort to help with pollinator conservation.
Want to learn more?
For more information about caring for and growing Purple Passion Flowers, please visit How to Grow: Passion Flower or visit Growing, Harvesting and Eating Maypop (Hardy Passion Fruit) to learn more about cultivating Maypop fruits.
Read A Passionate Pollinator for more information about the relationship between Maypops and pollinators.