Possiflora incarnata Passifloraceae

To Spanish missionaries in Souili \merica. ihe passionflower represented the I'assion of Christ: the three stigmas symbolized (he nails. Ihe corona Hie crown of thorns, the five stamens the wounds, and the ten petals the Apostles (except Judas lscariot and Peter).

0 h i ' -ion names Maypops, purple passionflower, wild apricot, wild passionflower

Pa:' used Dried aerial parts (especially leaves), ripe fruits, flowers

There are about 400 species of passion-fruit. Many are ornamental, tendrilled climbers; some produce delicious fruit. Most require warm-temperate to tropical conditions, although P. incarnata is one of the most tolerant of cooler conditions. Deciduous in colder areas, it can survive occasional winter freezes.

A common wildflower in the southern United States, it was used as a tonic by Native Americans, and was first noted by a Western doctor in 1783. The leaves are palmately divided with 3 to 5 smooth, textured, pointed lobes with serrated margins. The fragrant large flowers are lavender-colored, with a white center and a deeper purple, threadlike corona. The fruits, ovoid yellow berries when ripe, are about 2 in. (5 cm) long.

• Position It prefers a light, acidic soil and a warm, sunny position. In cooler areas, it is an excellent greenhouse plant.

• Propagation Sow passionflower seed in spring when the soil has warmed. Or propagate by semi-ripe stem cuttings in summer, or by layering.

• Maintenance Provide a trellis or other support, and mulch plants well. Shape and prune the vine as necessary in spring.

• Pests and diseases Passionflower vines are mainly pest-free and, although Passiflora is an important food source for the caterpillar stage of some butterflies, they cause no permanent damage.

• Harvesting and storing Harvest the aerial parts in mid- to late summer and air-dry for medicinal preparations. For culinary use, pick the fruits at the "dropping" stage.

Passionfruit cordial

Spoon the pulp of 8 passionfruit into a mixing bowl. Vou need about Va cup 1180 ml) pulp. Add I teaspoon vanilla extract. 1 cup (230 g) sugar and V* cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon ¡nice. Stir well. Pour into a clip-lock bollle and refrigerate. Keeps for I week. Pour into a jug. Add t cups {I I) chilled club soda. Serves 8.

Passionfruit from the P. edulis vine

Passionfruit (Possiflora edulis)

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