Interesting Plant: Passiflora (Passion flower)

Every time I pass a passiflora vine in the neighborhood I stop and stare. I am quite taken with the lovely, and to me, quite alien looking flowers. Their striking shapes and colors are unlike anything I see on a regular basis. I have grown 2 small vines here from seeds I gathered in the neighborhood, but their is a certain butterfly, the Gulf Fritillary, that adores the foliage of these vines and would strip my small ones down to the point where they couldn’t keep growing. I plan on trying again, perhaps with a little protection in order to get them established. Then the butterflies are more than welcome to lay their eggs there. I have successfully gathered and grown seeds from my neighbor’s plants, as long as I get to them before the birds — which seem to like the seeds, too.

Here are a couple of passiflora photos I have taken in the past.

Passiflora Flower

Passiflora Flower

Passiflora, known also as the passion flowers or passion vines, is a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants, the namesakes of the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs, and a few species being herbaceous. For information about the fruit of the passiflora plant, see passionfruit. The monotypic genusHollrungia seems to be inseparable from Passiflora, but further study is needed.

The family Passifloraceae has a pantropical distribution. Passiflora itself is absent from Africa, where many other members of the family Passifloraceae occur (e.g. the more plesiomorphic Adenia).

Nine species of Passiflora are native to the USA, found from Ohio to the north, west to California and south to theFlorida Keys. Most other species are found in South America, Eastern Asia, and Southern AsiaNew Guinea, four or more species in Australia and a single endemic species in New Zealand. New species continue to be identified: for example, P. pardifolia and P. xishuangbannaensis have only been known to the scientific community since 2006 and 2005, respectively.

Some species of Passiflora have been naturalised beyond their native ranges. For example, Blue Passion Flower (P. caerulea) now grows wild in Spain.[1] The purple passionfruit (P. edulis) and its yellow relative flavicarpa have been introduced in many tropical regions as commercial crops.


More information on Stenocarpus sinuatus:


Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas