Index- plants in this Family
Passifloraceae / Passionflower
Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
Purple Passionflower is also known as Passionflower, Maypop and Wild Apricot.

Plant Type: This is a vine, it is a perennial.
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Each leaf is toothed or lobed.
Flowers: The flowers have numerous parts and are up to 5cm wide (2 inches). They are purple and lavender sometimes nearly white. Blooms first appear in early summer and continue into late summer. There are five petals and five sepals that look almost identical making the flower appear to have ten petals below a ring of long fringes.
Fruit: A berry up to two inches in diameter, green turning yellowish when ripe.
Habitat: Fields, fencerows and gardens.
Range: Most of the southeastern U. S.

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Daniel Reed

Passionflower got the name from early Spanish explorers who found the vine growing throughout the Southeastern part of what is now the United States. The Spanish found numerical relations in the flower parts to Christ's crucifixion, hence the name. This is the Official State Wildflower of Tennessee, selected by a popular vote of schoolchildren throughout the state. Not to be confused with the State Flower which is the Iris.

The fruit has a translucent pulp surrounding the seeds that is sweet and tasty when ripe.

Medical Uses: The entire plant has long been used as sedative and mild painkiller. Considered particularly useful in painful menstruation, insomnia epilepsy and headaches. Research suggests that it is a mild sedative, decreasing blood pressure and motor activity while increasing respiratory rate. Native Americans poulticed the root for many types of sores and earaches.(Foster & Duke)(Dobelis)

Similar Species: Yellow Passionflower (P. Lutea) has smaller yellowish flowers and a small black fruit. It has similar range and habitat but is much less common.

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Purple Passionflower, Passiflora incarnata
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Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)  © Daniel Reed

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



Welcome / Glossary / Books / Links / Feedback / Image use policy - Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States, Page updated on 2/26/2007 2:40:41 PM.