Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pale passionvine - Passiflora pallida


Pale passionvine (Passiflora pallida) is a state endangered species, found naturally only in Collier, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties in the extreme southern portion of the state.  It also occurs in the West Indies. In many respects, it shares the many attributes of purple passionvine (P. incarnata) described previously.  It differs by its foliage and in the color of its blooms.
Pale passionvine naturally is found in hardwood hammocks and the edge of forested wetlands. Unlike purple passionvine, it tolerates low light levels and clambers up into the forest canopy to seek additional light.  Large numbers of flowers occur from spring through fall. Each bloom is about 2 inches across. The petals are white or with a slight purple blush while the many filaments are banded in deeper violet. Although it has remained evergreen in our Pinellas County landscape, it does not flower during the winter here and grows very little. The flowers close during the evening and open  by late morning.  They are slightly fragrant, and plants in full bloom can be detected some distance away.  They are pollinated by bumblebees.  The fruit is similar to that of purple passionvine, but is lower in acidity and not nearly as tasty. The leaves are only slightly lobed.  They resemble those of yellow passionvine (P. lutea), but are several inches across.
Pale passionvine is a beautiful wildflower with the same butterfly-garden role as its other native cousins, but it is only infrequently offered for sale by nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.  Our plant has set seed and we are optimistic that we can offer it in the future at Hawthorn Hill.  Although we have kept this plant in our landscape for more than a year, it has not been tested against freezing temperatures or extreme drought. As a south Florida native, it may not be cold tolerant. It is most likely tolerant of enough drought as to be adaptable to most landscape settings.

3 comments:

  1. The incredible flora and fauna are part of the joy of being outdoor in Florida - as well as all those beautiful, sunny days that make the abundances of unique flowers possible.

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  2. This plant grows wild in the Big Bend area. I live in North Florida about 40 minutes from the Georgia border. I live in a wooded area and find this in the woods on my hikes. The Zebra Butterflies love it as well and the native gopher turtles and deer. I see where they take bites out of the fruit. I find them popping up in many places thinking the seed may not digest in deer and is spread. I do not tell anyone where I find native plants for their own protection. I have collected the dried fruit pods and spread the seed myself. Once the plant has sprouted it goes dormant during our harsh winters coming back in the spring.

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  3. Though they may look similar, pale passionvine is a very rare plant and confined to just a few locations in extreme south Florida. Passiflora incarnata, which I've also posted about, is the one you are likely seeing in north Flrida. It sometimes has very pale flowers, but the leaf shape is much different.

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