Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine
This post provides Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine and provides how to care for the plant, gives a recipe, and describes the fruit of this cold hardy medicinal.
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. The flowers are very sweet smelling and attracts a lot of beneficial insects. The flowers are white and lilac in color and are quite showy. 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.
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. This year I totally ignored mine and mowed them down with the lawn mower a few times and they still produced fruit.
The maypop fruit is ripe when it turns from “Kermit the Frog” green to light green to yellow-orange in color. A better indication of a ripe maypop is a somewhat wrinkly skin whereas the unripe maypop fruit will have a firm, tight feel and 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. I took one of these fruits over to my mother’s house last week and we tried the fruit. It had a sweet tropical fruit flavor like I hadn’t had before. I don’t know that I’ve had passion fruit before, so I can’t make a comparison. It was mighty tasty, but it was difficult getting the pulp off of the seeds. I looked online for an easier way to do this and did not come up with anything. The recipes below seem to cook, squash, and strain. That may be the best way.
The alternate leaves (2 to 6 inches long and wide) 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.
This plant suckers all over the place. I put in one vine two years ago. Last year I had suckers coming up twenty to thirty feet away. The suckers come up from the main plant going out along the roots at about every twelve to eighteen inches. If you plant these near a lawn you can just mow them down. I planted mine near a large mulch garden and they went crazy. Just use caution putting them in the landscape as they can become quite invasive. I have a separate post on Maypop Propagation if you are interested in propagating this vine.
Vitamins / Minerals / Medicinal*
Maypop contains the following vitamins and minerals: Vitamin A, B2, B3, C, iron, and phosphorous. http://www.fruitsinfo.com/maypop-fruit.php#Nutritional-Value
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.”
In these pictures we see one seed with the edible fruit around it and two seeds that are without the edible coating. It does look very similar to a pomegranate fruit from this perspective.
|2 cups ripe maypops, sliced|
1 cup water
|2-1/2 cups sugar|
1-3/4 ounces pectin
|Combine the Maypops and water, and boil gently for 5 minutes. Then strain, discarding the pulp. Combine the liquid and sugar and bring to full rolling boil. Add pectin, and again bring to rolling boil. Remove from heat, pour into hot, sterilized jars, and seal. Makes 2-1/2 pints.|
|4 cups maypops, halved|
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick, halved
|1 whole clove|
2-1/2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
|Combine the paypops, sugar, cinnamon stick, clove, and water and bring to a boil. simmer gently for 5 minutes. Put through a strainer, pressing fruit to extract all the juice. Add the lemon juice, and chill well before serving. Makes 4 servings.|
|Maypop Ice Milk|
This will make a 1/2 gallon.
*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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