Passion Flower Varieties
Passion flowers are correctly termed Passiflora or passion vines, and there are about 500 species of these flowering plants. Most of them are vines, although there are also some passion flower varieties growing as herbaceous shrubs. The fruit of the passiflora plant is, unsurprisingly, known as the passion fruit, though typical gardeners are more interested in the flowers. The purple passionfruit (P. edulis) and its yellow relative flavicarpa have been introduced in many tropical regions as commercial crops.
Vigorous to 20 ft in a year in tropics, hardy to 32 deg F.
Commonly grown for the fruit, hardy to 35 deg F.
The family has a broadly tropical distribution. Passiflora itself is absent from Africa, where many other members of the family can be found. Most species originate from South America, east and southern Asia although there are nine species native to the United States, from Ohio to California and Florida. Some are unique to Australia and New Zealand and new species continue to be identified. It is notable that species of Passiflora are gradually being naturalised beyond their native ranges. For example, blue passion flower (P. caerulea) now grows wild in Spain, but the plants are not in general considered to be invasive.
Hardiest, to 10 deg F, fast-growing to 30 ft in a season
Originally from Brazil. Has little insect egg mimics on its leaves to deter egg-laying insects
Giant fruit, up to a foot in diameter – warm humid tropics.
P. ‘Royale’ hybrid
Big, scented flowers
P. kermesina: Photo, Audrey
Brazilian, rarely seen in cultivation, threatened species.