My take on the Passiflora Society International meeting

eristal(9)September 11, 2009

Hello all,

I would like to share our experience at the Passiflora Society International meeting last weekend. I am sure this will be overwhelming and perhaps even boring for some, but hopefully others will appreciate it. I have pictures of people as well, but I do not want to publish them unless they give me permission. I hopefully wont offend anyone, as this is simply my opinion of the trip IÂm sure I will though oh well.

The meeting itself was fun and informative, if not chaotic at times. Ron and Sarah had their hands full trying to tame this wild bunch of Passiflora enthusiasts. (As a quick aside: Crystal and I have also been to Orchid Society meetings, and everyone is very organized, strict, and timely. Everything must be just perfect like an orchid. I think people have attitudes like their plants, and Passifloras are wild, crazy, and impossible to tame.)

The first day we went on a tour of Butterfly World led by Ron Boender, including a behind-the-scenes peak. It was fantastic. PSI meeting or not, this is a place everyone should visit at some point in their life. There were butterflies, hummingbirds, Passifloras and many other genera of plants everywhere. I got to see many Passifloras I have never had the chance to see blooming, many I had never even heard of, and many if not all of RonÂs red hybrids, which are amazing.

Later that afternoon after some free time we all went to Boynton Botanicals, a wholesale nursery. We got into golf carts, (which was fun in itself), and drove all over the 4 nurseries that are a part of the complex. My problem with this part of the trip is that is all we did. After finishing the driven tour, the provided refreshments, which was nice, but I wanted to see the plants. I expected that we would be able to get out of the cars and meander through the plants. Or be given a tour of their propagation facilities with explanations of their techniques. Or at least offer plants for sale. HereÂs a thought: We all had tags on that said "Passiflora Society", so why are we driving by the Passifloras at 6 miles per hour? It was disappointing, and it certainly didnÂt do their nursery any credit, as it was obvious that it was a fabulous facility, we just werenÂt shown that.

Saturday, Ron spoke about the state of the Passiflora Society, information from the minutes from the officerÂs meeting earlier that morning, and we all discussed ways to increase membership and make the newsletter more desirable. I think the conversation could be expanded on greatly, but time seems to go by very fast within those walls. It doesnÂt help that there were about 40 differing opinions.

After Ron took the people who werenÂt there on Friday on the tour, some trading began. It was quite a mess. This being our first meeting, we expected that we would have the least amount of trading material, not the most, (or nearly so). We brought 58 rooted cuttings of 24 different Passifloras. As far as I know, only 2 other people brought plants with them. Obviously, the people from overseas could not bring plants, but what about the people from the states? Even more so, what about the people from Florida? Many people did bring seeds though, and a few brought raw cuttings, and that was nice. I was simply expecting more of an organized production with much more material and people to do trades with. The only 2 others that I know brought plants, we had already made plans to trade over a month ago! I could have done this through the mail. By the end, I think I traded 6 or 8 plants, and just gave the rest away to people. To most, it was my pleasure. I was able to give a fairly interesting Passiflora to John Vanderplank for some studies he is doing, (and also got his autograph in my book!)

Amidst the trading, we paused for the presentations, which I would like to have had more time devoted to. We had some great presenters with wonderful pictures and information, but some people didnÂt get to do their presentations at all, and others had to rush along and skim through pictures that certainly had fascinating stories behind them. It was a real shame. This was, to me, the most important part of the meeting, and it ended up only being given a couple of hours time. During one of my favorite presentations, we were interrupted by another thunder storm coming our way, so if we wanted cuttings of RonÂs plants, we needed to get a move on.

I hate to be negative, but this was another of my gripes. Not with Butterfly World or anyone there, but with some of the members. I was a bit surprised at the grabby nature and entitlement mentality of a few people. DonÂt get me wrong, I got plenty of cuttings. But it just seemed to me that some people were less appreciative than they should have been, or more just expecting it as part of their entry fee. Like I said, though, this is just my perspective on things.

Overall, the meeting was good. It was a worthwhile experience, and I am very happy we went. Without a doubt, the best part of the entire experience was some of the people we met. Ron Boender is educational, generous, and an inspiration to all Passiflora enthusiasts. Sarah Botto is very sweet and quite a lovely lady. We all owe her thanks for doing all she does as a volunteer. The entire Butterfly World staff was very professional and friendly, even though IÂm sure we all made their lives difficult for a few days. The Vanderplanks are wonderful people; they are so friendly, and amazingly modest. The McCains were lots of fun with a great sense of humor, (leave it to us Californians to be the only ones at dinner with a wine bottle in front of them.) John MacDougal is every bit as intelligent as he sounds in his book, and also a really nice guy. The Adairs were also extremely nice and fun people, Andrew was actually the first person at the meeting to come up and introduce himself to us. We finally got to meet many people we have been doing trades and purchases with for so long, as well. Jim Nevers, my favorite Ebay seller is a very generous man and a great hybridizer and collector, as I am aspiring to be as well. Elizabeth from Grassy Knoll Exotics was just adorable. No wonder everyone loves her. SheÂs just so spunky! It was great to finally meet Liza and Rob Rock after all the emailing, I just wish we had more time to hang out. I know for a fact that I am leaving out some people, and I apologize to those of you for that. My memory of names is a bit poor.

Also, we made two great new friends from the Netherlands: Rob McPhail and Cor Laurens. Rob is actually Scottish living in Holland. He has a great sense of humor and sarcasm just like Crystal and I. It amazes me how much he has done and the places he has been. I am jealous. Cor is a wealth of knowledge, (most of it from real life experiences), and has many wonderful entertaining stories of his explorations. He also has a great sense of humor, and you just canÂt help but like the guy.

All of these great people are the main reason we would consider going to next yearÂs meeting in France.

On to the pictures: The first few are outside Butterfly World in Tradewinds park. Not all of the pictures are Passifloras or related. I wanted to give brief feel of the whole experience, not just the Passies.

A native butterfly, I assume:

This is a shrub I cannot identify with the most fantastic vibrant orange flowers. If anyone knows what this is, please email me, as I would love to own it.

Passiflora pallens wild... or escaped.

I am pretty sure this is a different species of Dalechampia than the wonderful one that we grow with purple flowers. What an odd and amazing flower.

Those leaves are large!

A fruit from a Cucurbaceae family plant for certain with a color of orange that the camera just cannot capture.

Passiflora cincinnata CR Fabio (in Butterfly World)

Passiflora subrotunda (in BW)

Passiflora edmundoi (in BW)

Passiflora I can't remember the name (in BW)

The rest don't really need explanation I think. All are in Butterfly World.

Anyone who was at the meeting with us, I would love to hear from you. Please tell me your thoughts on the meeting as well. What do you agree and disagree with? Even if you didn't come, feel free to comment if you like.

Happy gardening!

Eric Wortman

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I didn't go to the meeting - I'm not even a member - but I really enjoyed reading your report and looking at the pictures, Eric! I'm going to have to make Butterfly World next time I visit my daughter in Florida!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 8:26AM
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this is bitter melon vine. it is RIDICULOUSLY invasive down here and i am fighting it from completely choking out all my passiflora and completely dominating my fenceline.

it is a beautiful color orange and the seeds inside are lipstick red. its reportedly a miracle tonic for diabetes and blood related ailments.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 1:06PM
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Eric thanks for the review of the meeting and all the great pics. I'm not a PSI member either but I do visit Butterfly World a couple times a year and just love it. The gardens are beautiful as are all the butterflies, hummers and lorakeets.

Boom I grow bitter melons here because I like the look of the fruit when it's over-ripe and splits open. I can't stand the taste and just can't eat it no matter the health benefits. Luckily it's killed back here in the winter.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 3:02PM
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it dies back in the winter here too.

the problem is the seeds dont die with it, lol.

do yours get large? the pictures all show large fruit but the picture posted is about as large as they get here from my observation. possibly its all the rain that causes them to get soft and split before growing

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 1:16PM
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I guess the hard freezes kill the seeds here because I've never had any volunteer vines the following spring. I've grown different sizes, from 2-5" fruits. I like the smaller ones better because they split open quicker. I usually see the larger varieties for sale in the Oriental markets. Do you ever eat them? I just can't and guess they are an acquired taste.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 3:24PM
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jkrup44(9B FL)

Great post, Eric. I really enjoyed your story and pictures. Perhaps the PSI member who organizes the event could be sent a link to your post so as to make a few improvements next time. Maybe more people would participate in trading if the trading was better organized. Anyway, I am glad you and Crystal had a good time there.

P.S. I'm sending you an e-mail about that P. 'Panda'

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 5:20PM
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no i have never ate them, but i rarely get sick.

they are not a food, they are used as an ailment.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 4:42AM
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I know plenty of people that use bitterr melon in soup and stir fry, not just to treat an ailment, though my friend's grandmother keeps preaching their health benefits to me. lol

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 8:12AM
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I can't believe I forgot to mention Michael Kartuz. He was such a sweet guy. I can't wait to go visit his gardens in SoCal. If you have never purchased from him, his website is simply, and he sells much more than just Passifloras.

I'm sure more people will come to mind as the jet lag fades...


    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 9:54PM
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passionlove(z 9 FL)

Hi Eric,

It was so great to finally meet you and Crystal! I totally agree with everything you said about the PSI meeting. I'm a free bird myself, but we could have had some more organization. The trades as you put it, were not thought out or organized. There were too many interruptions during the meetings and we didn't get to hear some people speak, which I really looked forward to.I'm not sure if the PSI meetings have been like this for years, or if this just an unorganized year. The rain sure didn't help though.

By the way, the orange/red unnamed passiflora in your photos is P.Glandulosa. Quite the beauty isn't it? I'm currently trying to root one, but not sure it will make it.

I want to thank you and Crystal for giving me all those goodies to take home. They are all doing great! I hope yours are doing good too. My P.Cincinnata finally bloomed. I'll have to post some photos, so you can see what yours will look like. I wish we got to hang out more. We ended up relaxing/sleeping that last night, since my hubby didn't feel well. We had to work and then travel out of state again later in the week, so it was a much needed break.

I look forward to another PSI meeting. It was the people that made it special.

A P.'Royale' from BW:

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 2:31PM
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passionlove(z 9 FL)

The red flower is not a P. Glandulosa. I believe it is one of Ron Boender's red hybrids, similar to 'Peter Lawrence'. So, I guess I don't have the name of it either.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 11:23PM
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I picked up a pack of P. Royale seeds last March when I was in Butterfly World and have 3 seedlings. Mine haven't been the fastest growing vines but I hope to get blooms in the next year or two. Thanks for posting the pic.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 7:07AM
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Thanks to your pics, I'm now kicking myself that I didn't bully the spouse and kids into going to Butterfly World when we were in Miami a few years ago! Great report on the society -- my take from the orchid world and other plant societies is that there is never enough time for everyone to speak, and more organization is always needed, but they should be able to schedule enough time for presentations, at least.

Regarding trades, well, when you put a bunch of plant junkies into a room with their natural prey, you'll see people's primal natures come out; some will be courteous and generous, and others will let their inner animal get the best of them!

FYI the orange flowered tree is a Geiger tree, Cordia sebestena. It's native to S. Florida and the Caribbean, is a fairly popular street tree, and I'm guessing should do fine outdoors for you.

If you have trouble finding a plant source, let me know and I'm pretty sure I can locate a nursery for you.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 1:35PM
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passionlove(z 9 FL)

Ok now I know why glandulosa came into my head when I saw your red/orange unnamed passiflora.. I think it is a quadriglandulosa??? That's my final guess..Anyone else? :)

I bet you can't wait for the P. Royale to flower. I ended up buying a rooted cutting from Butterfly World. I can't wait for that thing to get large enough to flower.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 10:04PM
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