days to maturity:
plant spacing: 1 plant every 12 feet
sunlight requirements: 8-14 hours
look out for: aphids, leaf miners
harvest notes: prolific vine, best for fencing or trellising
The Passion vine, also known as possum purple or maypop, is native to the SE United States. The “Passionflower” name is said to come from the Passion of Christ; the different parts of the psychedelic purple, blue, or scarlet flowers representing elements of the crucifixion such as the crown of thorns, the nails, the scourges, and the wounds. Scourges and nails aside, the egg-shaped fruit is high in vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and iron. When its shell begins to shrivel, the fruit can be cut in half. The crunchy seeds and floral pulp can be scooped out and eaten, blended into juices or smoothies, spooned over ice cream, or onto other desserts. In Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables, Elizabeth Schneider points out that one of the virtues of the passion fruit is that its potent flavor does not fade when frozen or mixed with other ingredients; making it useful as a flavoring to perfume other recipes, much like vanilla. The plant produces a large vine that can become invasive, so chose your planting location wisely.