Green Thumbs

Passion for growing plants

   Jun 17

The Confusing World of Passifloras

Up until last year my experiences with Passifloras consisted of watching my mother and grandmother grow theirs and marvel at the flowers and the plants’ need for water. I was never overly fond of the crème- coloured flowers with blue accents. But then came a rainy and snowy late evening after work sometime last winter.

I had headed over to the local plant supermarket in dire need of some greenhouse time. Looking around, searching for a yellow Hibiscus I had hoped they would stock, I caught sight of the most unusual passion flower I had ever seen. It was a deep royal purple, the label said Passiflora ‘Amethyst, and I was in love. I had to buy it, even though I thought it was a bit expensive. And so my passion for passion flowers started.

On my quest to bring a little bit of Hawaii to Sweden I found out about Passiflora Mollissima/Tarminiana, a noxious weed in many frost-free parts of the world. I promptly ordered 220 seeds (yes I counted them all) and then life got in the way. When January came around I finally had time to plant my seeds. Fortunately they germinated after a few weeks but I lost many to damping off. Second and third try I had much better success with high germination rates and quick-growing little passies! Now I have so many I have to give some away.

The reason I say Mollissimia/Tarminiana is that recently scientists have discovered that the Passiflora known in Hawaii as Mollissima might be a Tarminiana instead. The differences are small. The Mollissimia never opens its flowers entirely; it retains a bell-shape though Tarminiana sometimes flexes its petals backwards. The Tarminiana also has a glossy over-side of the leaf. This has lead me to think that the seeds I bought as Mollissima are instead Tarminiana, I don’t mind.

The two Passifloras are used in the same way; they are both called the Banana Poka because of their oblong yellow fruits resembling bananas. I’m not only hoping for gorgeous pink flowers here, the fruits are also said to be delicious!

Right now I’m contemplating if I should order some seeds from Passiflora incarnata, the Maypop passie. They do look truly beautiful with their flax blue flowers. And the more passion flowers I have the higher the chance that I might, might get some fruits one day!
Name: Passiflora Tarminiana/Mollissima
Where: Hawaii, Carribbean Islands, South American highlands, Australia
Uses: Cakes, drinks and eaten fresh
Warnings: Highly invasive in some climates

passiflora tarminiana stor

Passiflora Tarminiana

 

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