The Passion Flower (passiflora) is a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants. Different species range from, vines, shrubs, annuls and even trees. The vine is the most commonly found. It also produces a fruit (passionfruit). The passion Flower can be found all over the US, South America, China, and New Zealand. The Passion Flower is mistaken for a weed in parts of the US where it grows in ditches and fields in abundance. Hybrids can now be found outside of their general regions of growth.
The Passion Flower has a beautiful flower that is delicate, detailed and exotic looking. Interestingly enough, these beautiful flowers only remain open for one day. It is a great piece for the garden if you are able to grow it in your area. The flower starts with a base of about 5 white petals, then 5 sepals that vary in colour. Most commonly magenta and blue. Some say that the passionflower got its name from its resemblance to the crown of thorns. The passionflower is grown in zones 6-10. The vine grows from may until the first frost. At which time the above ground foliage falls away leaving the roots to hibernate over the winter. The Passion Flower blooms in mid to late summer. The Passion Flower requires full to partial sun exposure. The vine grows to a hight of 15-30 feet and 6-8 feet wide and produces edible fruit. Passion fruit should be picked as soon as possible because caterpillars are a problem.
The soil in which you you choose to grow this exotic looking plant should be well-drained, but rich. This plant requires protection in winter in zone 6. This plant is NOT drought tolerant so should be water frequently in dry spells.
The Passion Flower can be grown from seed and stem cuttings.
Other than aesthetics for your garden, the Passion Flower also has medical uses. It is considered an herb that is calming for anxiety, and relives insomnia, seizures and general hysteria. Scientists believe this is due to the increase in gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a chemical that scientist believe makes you feel more relaxed by lowering the activity of some of your brain cells among other things (see above hyper link).
The Passion Flower can be taken as an infusion, tea, liquid extract and tinctures. It is not safe for children as the side effects are unknown. Taking passion Flower or any herbal medication should be first brought to your doctor for approval. Passion Flower can react badly with some medication, other herbs and supplements and ill side effects can also be experienced in some cases.
Other common names also include; maypop, passiflora incarnata, passiflora caerulia.