BENGALURU:Flowers are some of nature’s most striking creations. One such flower is the wild Passion Flower, scientifically known as Passiflora Foetida L, belonging to the family Passifloraceae. This slender vine produces beautiful flowers that are up to 5cm in diameter. The stems of this vine are sticky and hairy. Tendrils are axillary and simple. Stipules are thread-like and covered with sticky hair. Leaves are up to 10 cm across, usually three-lobed, and with a heart-shaped base. The apex is sharp and with a margins, and the stalks of the leaves are about two-three cm-long, glandular-ciliate.
Flowers are axillary, solitary; the bracts are hairy and thread-like. Calyx is light green and the corolla is white. Flowers have corona filaments in multiple series. Flowers are surrounded by three deeply-divided bracts and are densely covered in large sticky hairs. The fruits are globose, three-cm in length. They go from green to yellow or orange-yellow when mature. Ripe fruits are edible, emit sweet fragrance when opened and contain mucilaginous sweet and sour pulp with numerous black-coloured seeds.
Flowers and fruits are seen almost throughout the year. The thread-like bracts secrete sticky digestive enzymes that helps the plant to trap small insects as a form of defence. It is also reported that this species is host to a variety of butterflies. It is usually found to grow throughout India – in neglected areas along wayside hedges, open areas, pastures, edges of forests and plantations. This species is reported to be useful in folk medicines for indigestion, gastritis and diarrhoea. In Tamil, it is known as Mooku Chali Pazham or Thaat-ppot kodi.
Wild Passion Flowers
Flowers have corona filaments in multiple series. Flowers are surrounded by three deeply-divided bracts and are densely covered in large sticky hairs.