Botanical Name: Passiflora incarnata
Common Name: Maypop Passion Vine, Purple Passionflower, Purple Passion Vine, Apricot Vine, Wild Apricot
Description: This is a gorgeous perennial vine native to Texas, Louisiana, and the Southeast. The name Maypop comes from the hollow, yellow fruits that pop loudly when crushed. Fast growing climber to 25′. Blooms those amazing purple/lavender alien-looking fragrant flowers spring through fall. Likes sun, part sun, or part shade areas of your garden. Grows just fine in rich, non-saline clays, loams, or sands. Attaches itself by twining and can be grown as arbors, trellises, fences, walls, pillars, etc., or as a groundcover. Moderate deer resistance. Needs good draining soil. Drought tolerant after becoming established, but grows best with supplemental water during times of drought. These are self-pollinating. Hummingbirds and butterflies get nectar from the flowers in the summer. Its fruit may be eaten by songbirds, small mammals, and some larger mammals. Does spread by root suckers.
The egg-size edible fruit starts forming in the summer and ripens in the fall. The maypop fruit is ripe when it turns from green to light green to yellow-orange in color. A better indication of a ripe maypop is a somewhat wrinkly skin whereas the unripe maypop fruit will have a firm, tight feel. Upon splitting the fruit you will see numerous seeds coated in a translucent goo while the inside of the skin will have a thick layer of white pulp. Suck the goo off the seeds like you were eating a pomegranate. The white pulp inside the skin is scrapped off with a spoon and eaten. Roasted seeds of maypops are considered to be a wonderful snack in Puerto Rico. Can be eaten fresh or in preserves. Is tartly-sweet.
Is larval host plant to: Gulf Fritillary butterfly, Zebra Longwing butterfly, Crimson-patch longwing butterfly, Red-banded hairstreak butterfly, Julia butterfly, and Mexican butterfly.
Medicinal Value: Native Americans poulticed root for boils, cuts, earaches, and inflammation. Tea used to sooth nerves; Inca brewed tonic; crushed leaves in poultices on cuts and bruises. (1 teaspoon dried leaves per cup of boiling water, steep 10 or 15 min) for insomnia, 1 cup at bedtime, as tonic up to 3 cups/day.
This plant in 1-gallon containers is 2-3′ tall x 1-2′ wide, not including the container. 10/30/2022 Note: The Gulf Fritillary caterpillars are on the plants and doing what they do: eat the leaves. The vines are also doing what they do: continuing to put out new growth. I do not spray my plants with any chemicals, so, yes, there are ragged and eaten leaves. But there are also Gulf Fritillary caterpillars on the plants and I will carefully transport said caterpillars with your Maypop to you so you can have Gulf Fritillary butterflies in your garden.
Interesting Tidbit: First documented in the Amazon by Spanish physician Nicolas Monardes in the 1560s, the leaves of the passionflower had long been used as a natural sedative by indigenous peoples, while the fruit was a favorite staple.
Hardiness Zones 7 – 9