Maypop Passiflora incarnata
This post, Maypop Passiflora incarnata, is a rewrite of a post on maypop I did last year. We include information on edibility, medicinal qualities, info on the fruit and flowers, and how to propagate them.
Maypop Passiflora incarnata is an attractive vine that flowers in the early summer and then produces two-inch-long fruit that is shaped like a chicken egg and is ready to pick in the fall. It is a hardy perennial that survives down to -20F and is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and is native to the Eastern United States. The vines freeze down to the ground each winter. Maypop gets its name by popping out of the ground in May.
The alternate leaves are 2 to 6 inches long and wide and are palmate with 3 lobes and finely serrated margins. Palmate means having several lobes whose midribs all radiate from one point.
Maypop loves full sun and the fast growing vine can grow to 25 feet. It likes moist but well drained soil.
The flowers of Maypop Passiflora incarnata are very beautiful and fragrant. The flowers are white and lilac in color and are very short lived, usually only lasting one day. The flowers are very sweet smelling and attracts a lot of beneficial insects.
While the vine will have dozens of flowers, only a few will actually fruit. I have found several sources that say you get better fruit production by hand pollinating.
The maypop fruit is ripe when it turns from “Kermit the Frog” green to light green to yellow-orange in color.
Propagation of Maypop Passiflora incarnata can be done by softwood cuttings, layering, and division of suckers. I have a three-year-old plant that has a lot of suckers and I now have 130 small plants from the suckers. I simply dug them up, soaked them in water for a half hour, and then put them in a pot.
The vines die back to the ground each year. After they die back, cut them to the ground. If any of the suckers pop up in a location you do not want, simply pull them up or cut them back.
Ripe Maypop has a tropical taste, but if you try them before they are fully ripe, they can taste quite sour.
Upon splitting the fruit, you will see numerous seeds coated in a clear goo while the inside of the skin will have a thick layer of white pulp. Only the clear goo is edible, suck it off the seeds like you were eating a pomegranate. You can eat the fruit raw, make preserves, cold drinks, and tea.
Tea made from the dried leaves and stem of the passion vine contain alkaloids with a sedative effect on humans. According to drugs.com: “Passiflora exhibits sedative and anti-anxiety activity in laboratory animals. Human studies of Passiflora, in combination products, have also demonstrated anti-anxiety and sedative properties.”*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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