In the past several years everybody discovered the passion flower. When I saw some pictures it looked a little too tropical, too exotic to me. Plus, I had no past with it. On a trip to the Amalfi Coast in the spring of 2013 with friends, we were walking down from Ravello to Minori at our own pace. My husband Henri who was seeing it for the first time thought I would like it and brought one for me to the café where we met up. Right then and there a memory was made.
Purple passion flower , Passiflora amethyst I believe. Photograph: Vedia Yöndem
Passiflora, known also as passion flowers, is a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants, in the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, some are shrubs, and a few species are herbaceous.
Wikipedia tells us that nine species of Passiflora are native to the USA, found from Ohio to the north, west to California and south to the Florida Keys. Most other species are found in South America, Eastern Asia, and Southern Asia, New 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.
Passiflora caerulea (blue passion flower, common passion flower) is native to South America (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil). It is a deciduous or semi-evergreen tendril vine growing to 10 m or more. The leaves are palmate and fragrant. The flowers are blue-white in color with a prominent fringe of coronal filaments in bands of blue, white, and brown.
I pressed the one Henri gave me but it lost its lovely bluish color. Blue passion flower-Passiflora caerulea has been naturalized beyond its native ranges. It grows in Spain and Italy.
Most species of passion flower have round or elongated edible fruit. The fruit is an orange-yellow berry 6 to 10 cm long and 2 to 5 cm in diameter, containing numerous seeds. The seeds are spread by mammals and birds that eat the fruit. Its flavor is very bland we are told.
In tropical climates, the passion flower will bloom all year round.
From Ravello to Minori….