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Incarnata expedition of doom

Posted by jblaschke 8b TX (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 24, 06 at 10:47

The first passion flower I ever saw--15 years or so ago--was a wild incarnata growing on an exotic livestock farm my family owns. I had no clue what it was, but thought it beautiful. I also figured it was a swamp plant, since it was growing near an irrigation canal. Since then I've realized that I saw a lot of fruiting plants as well, but I didn't recognize what they were at the time.

So over the weekend I had a chance to go back there for the first time in two years or so. And I wanted to try and collect some plants for my yard and also for trade.

Unfortunately, I could not find any growing on the flat fields where I first encountered them. That was disappointing, but not unexpected, since those fields have been plowed and shredded a number of times over the years. I did see a number of vigorously growing vines--6 feet tall or more--but they were all on the opposite of an 8 foot tall game-proof fence, along the berm containing the irrigation canal. Along with all manner of other vines and thick brush. None of it easily accessible.

I did manage to climb the fence at one point where an old telephone pole buttressing the fence offered... well, not an easy way over, but maybe a passable one. Imagine my surprise (and dismay) when hordes of fire ants began pouring out of the pole. Not the ground around it, but the pole itself!

I made it over with minimal stings, amazingly enough. But the fun was just beginning. Anyone in the southern U.S. should be familiar with dewberries, a tart, delicious wild relative of the blackberry. They grow rampant, and have insanely thorny canes. There were a lot here that I had to wade through to reach the "accessible" incarnata I'd spotted. There was also another vine, one that had tri-lobed, variegated leaves. Not entirely un-passiflora-like. Except this wicked thing was everywhere, and had big, evil thorns. I started wishing for more dewberries when I hit those woody, thorny vines. And, as fate would have it, those were wrapped all around the lone incarnata I was striving for.

So what should've been a simple, quick dig turned into an ordeal of disentangling Thorn vines, dewberry canes and random brush branches from this one, slender passion vine. That poor incarnata took quite a beating, I'm afraid. I finally got a good, 8-inch C-shaped section of the roots up. Sweaty, hot (mercury hit the high 80s yesterday) with my arms and legs really ripped up pretty convincingly, I started back through the gauntlet of fire ants with my prize.

It was then I realized my glasses were missing. I only use them for distance viewing, and had put them in my shirt pocket once I'd started in on my quarry. Looking back through the sea of blood-thirsty, vampiric plants, I saw the tell-tale glint of light against glass right there at the hole. They'd fallen out when I bent down to lift out the incarnata roots. *sigh*

The long and short of it is that I got one good, rooted plant with enough of the vine surviving to pot up with a high degree of confidence. I was also able to pull up another vine growing close to the fence and get a little bit of the root (which I coated with hormone and potted up) plus the tops of two other vines which I've divided up, dipped in rooting hormone and potted to try and get some good rooted cuttings. Out of all that effort, these are my results:

Belatedly, I discovered that one of the vines was setting flower buds like crazy. Had to pick all of those off. My track record with cuttings has been inconsistent, with failures outnumbering my successes by a 2:1 margin but I'm hoping to get some good results out of these. I've got 14 different cuttings and/or roots going here, and hopefully I'll have plenty of extra for trade in a few months.

I know the effort to get these was way disproportionate for the plants' value--especially when you can easily get them from eBay or many nurseries. But hey, this was the plant that sparked my love for passis, so it became a personal mission. :-)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

I enjoyed reading your story! Even with the fire ants, I say lucky you, rooted specimen! I wish I knew where I could just go dig some up, I've been babying my spouse's abandoned "these don't work" incarnata seeds just trying to get one to sprout!


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Well, dragonplant, if I manage to get any of the cuttings to take, I'll post here. I'm definitely hoping to use them as trade bait. :-)


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

That's quite the story! I hope you get good results.


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Well, here we are nearing the end of the first week, and I'm a wee bit concerned. Some of the cuttings are showing unhealthy brown spots. Not all, mind you. But some of them are definitely unhappy.

The good news is there has yet to be a sign of mold. Yay!


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Hi, Your story of collecting your plants and cuttings was very interesting and to a extent funny, as I know that getting attacked by fire ants was not pleasent. I have three nice purple passion fruit vines growing now and last month recieved some seeds from Australia of some different passiflora varieties. Did you know that Passiflora incarnata produced edible fruit and that the dried leaves and flowers are used to make a nice healthy herbal tea with? Also it is called Maypop as it dies back in the winter and Pops out in May. Some of the plants that I'm growing I plan to trade also when they are bigger and some will go into a protected garden, that I'm planting for a cancer patient. Have fun and happy gardening
George W, Z5 Mo.


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Thanks for the comments, George. In all honesty, I wrote my post with an eye toward being humorous, so it's OK to laugh about the fire ants--although I certainly wasn't when I was 8 feet off the ground! lol

Yes, I know they're also called Maypops and are edible. That's one of the reason I went after them--maybe later this summer I'll chase down some of the fruit to get the seeds, but making it back there is uncertain. Didn't know people made tea out of the leaves, tho. I thought the herbaceous parts of the plant were toxic?


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

How are they looking now Jblaschke? (Hope I spelt your User name right)
I Don't like Ants at the best of times, so that would have been the Stuff of NIGHTMARES to me....


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Hey ninecrow, a couple of the cuttings are showing new growth. Yay! I'm working on a more elaborate propogation chamber (the cuttings are currently bagged) that should be ready to go tomorrow, complete with CO2 infuser. A bunch of the cuttings still look very sad--the worst of which are the growth tips, which I'd thought would be the most likely to root and carry on. Go figure. In any event, it looks like I'll have at least a few new incarnatas to trade, eventually.


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

jblaschke, How are they looking after 5/6 more Days?
Thanks


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

I have six incarnata cuttings that have sprouted new growth--one has grown aggressively, two somewhat less so, and the rest have put on modest new growth. Surprisingly, all the growing tips, which I expected to have the most success with, have all mostly died and rotted. The successes I'm having are from further down the vine. Even a couple of cuttings where the vine "hollows"--which in an incarnata is supposed to be difficult to root--are showing new growth. Go figure.

And in other good news, the big piece of root I harvested has put up three new shoots. And the partial root I retrieved seems to be lively as well, as a bud on the above-ground stalk is putting on new growth. Yay!


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Brilliant News jblaschke!!!


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Well, I'm certainly happy. The rooted, er, rootings were from opposite sides of a 150-acre property, so there's at least minimal diversity there. I'm going to plant those two along my privacy fence that faces south, so they'll get full sun from about noon on. They'll complement a third incarnata I have growing against the east fence--I grew that one from seed, which I got from either the east coast or the upper midwest. I forget, but in any event, it is of different stock than the locals. I *like* genetic diversity.

The surviving cuttings are either from these two roots or two separate plants I cut several feet of growth from. So even though these are all clones, they are, for the most part, not clones of each other.


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Are they Still looking good and are you Growing for Eating Fruit jblaschke?
Thats what I'm trying to do with my 2 Edulis


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Several of the incarnata are growing very well indeed. One has inexplicably begun to wilt after a promising start. I'm just waiting for roots to start emerging from the peat pots, so I can transfer them from the chamber to a larger pot and move them outside.

Several of the edulis seedlings are reaching a transferrable size as well, while a couple of the others have abruptly stopped growing--and in some cases begun to shrivel. No rhyme or reason to it. I can only assume their genetic mix wasn't of sturdy enough stuff.

And one of the p. mexicana cuttings gave up the ghost. The other is growing nicely, with half a dozen tender, light green leaves and tendrils on it. I need to pot it up this weekend, but I'm concerned how it will respond outside of the cush environs of the chamber. I jumped through a number of hoops to get my mexicana, and then stupidly over-watered it due to unseasonably hot weather we were having, nearly killing it. (The good news is that the original pot has new sprouts growing from the surviving mexicana roots. Fingers crossed that I treat it better this time around and it survives).

I cleaned out some failed cuttings the other day, which opened up some additional space in the chamber. So I've added a cutting of my recently-acquired Lady Margaret as a hedge on that plant's survival (it's stressed, and has dropped several buds, but damned if I know how it wants to be treated!).


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Oh, and to answer your other question, my hope is to have these plants produce fruit for eating. I have some (mexicana and Incense, obviously) that aren't for fruit production and purely ornamental.

Incarnata has a distinct advantage in that is will grow wild here and has an attractive flower. Edulis is not hardy enough to survive here in the ground long-term (although it could probably make it through some mild winters--it's not that unusual for bananna plants to make it through the winter unscathed and fruit in the spring). But yeah, I enjoy passion fruit, and am hoping to eventually have my own supply (at nearly $3 apiece in the stores, I can't afford to buy many as a matter of course :-)


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

jblaschke I So Know what you mean by the Fruit being to much to buy on a Regular Bases... That's why I'm doing it too, Plus Not many Edulis Plants Fruiting here in the UK...
Will you Please Post Photos of your p. mexicana when it Flowers as I've not seen one before
Thanks


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

It's really a pretty plant. I believe it's a member of the Decaloba sub-genus. If so, it's got one of the flashier flowers of its kin. I have this wild idea that I might cross it with coreacea or something to produce a more hardy plant with both lush foliage *and* pretty flowers. Nutty, huh?

Here is a link that might be useful: Passiflora Mexicana


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Thanks...

for the link
I think you should try the Cross if you have both Plants... It Never Hurts to try...
I have a bud on My Edulis "Purple> that looks bigger...


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Your story tickled me. Not because of the pain and agony that you suffered, I had to laugh because I would have done the same thing!

I recently took a trip to the beach and got my hands on some sea grapes. I would like to trade later.....if your interested.

Kelly


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

I'm from another gardening forum! Wow, your story is inspiring! LOL! You are a hard core gardener!!! I'm really impressed! PJ


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

How are they Now jblaschke?


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Not so good, ninecrow. Most of the sprouted cuttings have wilted and died since my last update. When I do the post-mortem, none of them show any sign of root growth. It's baffling. One cutting DID root, and root quite aggressively. I potted it up last week and it's outside now, growing quite happily (the ironly is that this cutting was hollow, and the Vanderplank book indicated that hollow incarnata vines were reluctant to root as a cutting. Go figure). There are three more incarnata cuttings in the propogator that I'm still holding out hope for. They're not putting out new growth and are mostly stem, but they remain green. And the root segment that I was able to dig up is growing as well, so hopefully before long I'll be able to try some new cuttings from these plants. At least, that's the plan.

Currently, the propogator is mostly taken up with p. edulis and Pride of Barbados seedlings.


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

*Sigh* Not the News I had wanted to hear... I'm Sorry jblaschke
PS
What are Pride of Barbados?


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Pride of Barbados is a drought tolerant tropic plant that boasts spectacular flowers. Check out the link below, or simply do a Google search. Utterly unrelated to passiflora, but gorgeous nonetheless.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pride of Barbados


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Thanks for the link jblaschke...

I Didn't have Muck Luck when I tried to Grow Incarnata, mine Grew (Seed)well and then just up and Died on me... And I DON'T Know why...
My Edulis Buds are hanging on... But like I said before, I'm not going to say more about then incase I Jinx Them... LOL


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

Jblaschke, I enjoyed your story on obtaining your passionflower, I'm sorry your cuttings didn't take better, but the one experience I had rooting cuttings gave me about 1 out of 4.

I am interested in breeding passiflora incarnata (Maypop) for fruit production (most importantly - improved flavor) and for improved flower color. I have read that at the southern end of the its range in the U.S. that it often shows deeper color. If you know of a P. incarnata growing near you that you think may have interesting characteristics (or even if it doesn't, but grows well), I'd be interested in obtaining some seeds from you come this fall. Please contact me off-list.

If anyone wants some seeds of P. incarnata, I'd be happy to share come late summer/fall. It doesn't grow natively in SE Pennsylvania, but it does survive the winters here without problem (USDA zone 6). Please contact me off-list.

TIA (Thanks In Advance)


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RE: Incarnata expedition of doom

If it fruits this year, I'll be happy to give you some seeds. It's been more than 15 years since I saw this particular variety flower, but two years ago when my Incense first started flowering, I recognized the blossom instantly and assumed the two types were the same. Obviously, I know better now, but that leads me to believe that this incarnata has blossoms of the darker purple variety.

One thing to keep in mind is that although incarnata as a species is winter hardy up through zone 6, those way south in zone 8B such as mine have evolved to adapt to regional characteristics. We don't have nearly as many days below freezing as you do in Pennsylvania, so offspring of this particular plant may not survive your winter as readily as, say, maypops collected from the Carolinas or Virginia. You may have to baby it more and mulch heavily to give it extra protection. But then again, it might retain all of its cold resistance. Impossible to tell until you have one in the ground for a full season. :-)


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