Mexicana in bloom

jblaschke(8b TX)June 3, 2008

Beautiful little flower, isn't it?

Don't let it's looks deceive you. This one's a evil little thing, I assure you. Friday I got home from work and found several packages of stuff I'd ordered that were non-plant related. As I was opening them in my office, I noticed a stuffy kind of smell. Not pleasant, but I figured it was stale storage odor lingering from one of the packages. The next morning I opened my office door and was bowled over by a wave of mothball stench. What the heck was going on? I took out those boxes from the day before. No change. I removed all the contents that had come in those boxes. Nothing. I burned incense. The mothball smell laughed at my feeble smoke. I turned on the ceiling fan. That only made the smell stronger. I literally couldn't stand to be in my office, the smell was so strong. What's worse, the smell was permeating the rest of the house, even with my office doors closed. In desperation, I opened the windows in my office, and then I saw it-- my little passiflora mexicana with two little pretty 1" flowers open. That's it--two little flowers putting out more odor than any other passion flower I've ever had.

I'd heard that mexicana smelled unpleasant, but hadn't worried about it. After all, I'd heard the same about foetida, but my gossypiifolia is only vaguely musky in a greenish sort of way that is pretty much inconsequential. But wow, this mexicana wasn't playing games. I extricated it from my office and moved it outside, where it proceeded to open four more flowers the next day. Took several hours for my office's air to clear afterwards.

It's an attractive plant, and I still love it, but man, it's strictly an outdoor plant.

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P. 'Sunburst' offspring of P. gilbertiana MacDougal x P. jorullensis Kunth which are quite similar species to P. mexicana is pretty grim too. For those who think jblaschke is exaggerating believe me he is not. The pungency of the chemicals produced by these flowers is incredible. My P. 'Sunburst' was banned from the kitchen and nearly from the garden as well by irate neighbours. Curiously nurseries selling the plants forget to mention their 'little problem'. Nevertheless P. 'Sunburst' is so attractive it has to be tried! Surprisingly the pollinators appear to be bees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Passiflora pollinators

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 3:33PM
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My Sunburst is always outside when in bloom and I don't notice the unpleasant smell unless I get close up to the blooms. I can't imagine that it would stink up my house though. Your Mexicana flowers are beautiful but maybe I'll stay away from that one. The thought of it blooming in the greenhouse over the winter is scary after your description. lol

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 8:30AM
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Just added a picture of a bee on Passiflora mexicana at link below. A brave bee bearing in mind the smell!

Here is a link that might be useful: Passiflora mexicana with pollinator.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 1:53AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Wow! I was thinking "Where can I get one?" when I saw your picture, but after reading about the bad, strong smell, I think I'll pass on this one. Too bad, because I love the color of the flower!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 3:13PM
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jblaschke(8b TX)

Come now, Missherry, I've got several rooted cuttings that are well established. I'll be happy to trade with you!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 4:37PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

I thought it looked great too, but since I overwinter many of my passion flowers indoors, I'll pass too.

I almost bought one of these two weeks ago, but opted for another instead and was wondering if I should have gotten both...Now I'm glad I didn't.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 11:46PM
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passionlove(z 9 FL)

Hey that is beautiful!!! I want one of those anyway or a sunburst. They are just neat looking flowers/leaves. I'll take your advice though and not keep it inside.

Oh and thanks for the incarnata seeds. They are doing great:)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 4:03PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I'll keep checking my two p. incarnata 'albas' for root suckers, Jayme. I just planted them this year, so it may be a while before I find any. And if you still have any rooted cuttings of the stinking but beautiful p. mexicana, I'll try to find a place downwind of the house for it. :)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 8:59PM
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ibartoo(z8 sc)

That is gorgeous. I would love to trade something for one. Even if it smells bad, lOl I can put it in the room with the lizard, ( believe me it couldn't get worse). Linda

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 4:51PM
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jblaschke(8b TX)

As far as overwintering goes, I suspect they need certain (high) light levels to prompt flowering. A northern greenhouse in the winter probably wouldn't provide such. They wouldn't even flower for me in a south-facing Texas window...

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 10:37AM
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