Identifying Passiflora varieties

Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady LakeOctober 16, 2012

Back in the spring I purchased three types of Passiflora seeds: incarnata, caerula and alata. Though I had 5, 15 and 8 seeds respectively, I only ended up with 1, 2 and 2 sprouting. Problem is... the leaves on the 'alata' do not look like the leaves I see in pictures on the web. All five vines are growing nice and healthy, but only the incarnata has yet to produce flowers, which is fine since I had read that it can take 1-2 years before you see blooms on seed-started vines... if at all. So I'm left wondering if there's any other way for me to find out just what my mystery third Passiflora is? I know that leaves can at least rule some types out, but is there a way to really narrow it down without seeing a bloom?

I'm including a couple pictures of this mystery Passiflora. In both pictures you can see the lobed, but not-quite-as-lobed-as-incarnata nature of the leaves and in the first picture you can see the fuzzy nature of of the vine stem, which does not appear on my incarnata vine.

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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

And not one to sit around twiddling my thumbs, I did some more investigating of my own and I think what I have here is P. foetida or Stinking Passionflower, which from what I can find could be somewhat invasive in Florida, though I might be too far north in Florida for mine to become a nuisance due to winter frost.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 5:40PM
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ethane(9 FL)

Yeah, that's P. foetida all right.
So I looked up Lady Lake, and I'm in Gainesville, FL, not too far from you. P. incarnata grows wild here, why don't you just go dig some up from the side of the road? I know for a fact I see it on the fences as I drive on the turnpike to Orlando, but I figure I shouldn't stop to go pick some. It's fairly easy to find, especially if you can recognize the leaves; about this time of year they start turning yellow before the surrounding foliage.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 12:08AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

I have a P. incarnata. Even though I only had one sprout compared to the two foetidas and two caerulas, it is by far the most dominant plant on the trellis. The only time I have seen a P. incarnata growing wild was during my walk on the Sunnyhill Restoration levee after my sprouts had started. I wasn't quite prepared for taking a cutting, but I took one anyways, it didn't survive.

But as things stand now, I might be building two more trelli so that my caerula have a sporting chance to be seen. Jury is still out on foetida. I am thinking I will take a few cuttings and see if I can get them rooted. Then I will watch the main plant through the winter and see how it does. If the frost kills it, not just down to ground, but completely, then I will plant the cuttings in the spring time. If it survives the frost or only dies to root, then I will rip it up, I'm not much on keeping invasive, even mildly invasive, plants in my yard.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 6:39AM
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karyn1(7a)

You want to keep your eye on the caeruleas and incarnatas as they will spread quite readily in your zone. Both are cold hardy and can even grow out of hand here in zone 7a. I love them and don't mind their spreading. An extremely cold winter can kill them completely but in your zone I don't think that would ever happen. I grow foetidas as annuals here. It's one of the few I grow that will reach blooming size from seed early in the summer. It dies completely, roots and all, during the winter here.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 11:28AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

I'm not too worried about the incarnatas. Yeah, they can run, I know, but they are native to this area. Not that that means I won't have issues, it just means I should have a bit of help from Mother Nature in controlling it. The Gulf Fritillary and Zebra Longwing butterflies lay their eggs on the incarnata and I have read reports of the caterpillars almost completely decimating an incarnata vine. Which would be fine by me. The butterflies and their caterpillars are the reason I planted it in the first place.

But yeah, I will be keeping my eye on the caerulas. They are not native to Florida and I would not like for them to escape my control. Same thing goes for the foetidas.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 8:37PM
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karyn1(7a)

Butterflies are the reason I first started growing passifloras too. We don't have Zebra Longwings or Gulf Frits but do have Variegated Frits. I didn't get any caterpillars for years but by then had fallen in love with passies and built up a large collection. I still don't get that many V. Frits but friends further south have a terrible time with the Gulf Frits. BTW the foetida is self pollinating and the fruit has a nice taste but they're just so small. P. suberosa (corkystem) grows wild all over S. FL and is a great host plant. The flowers are small but pretty in their own right.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 6:15AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Yep. I am on the lookout for corkystem, myself. While my incarnata hasn't attracted any Zebra Longwings, I think they have already migrated, it has dozens of Gulf Frit eggs all over it and even some on the caerula, but none on the foetida. I have yet to see a caterpillar though. I don't know if it's too late in the season for them to hatch or if I have predatory insects that are getting them. But it has me feeling fairly confident that come next spring/summer there should be plenty of caterpillars nom-nomming on my vines.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 6:29AM
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karyn1(7a)

If you don't find any P. suberosa plants I can send you some seeds.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Thanks. I will keep that in mind. For now, with my one small trellis, I will just keep an eye on what I have. I might even pull up one of the caerulas to make room for the corkystem and to minimize how many I have to control. But I will give you a yell if I decide to take you up on your generosity.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 9:28AM
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