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Passiflora incarnata - L.

Common Name Maypops - Passion Flower, Purple passionflower, Apricot Vine, Maypop, Wild Passion Flower, Purple Pa
Family Passifloraceae
USDA hardiness 7-11
Known Hazards Sedation. Hypersensitivity reactions noted. Can potentiate the action of central nervous system depressants like alcohol [301].
Habitats Sandy thickets and open soils[43]. Fields, roadsides, fence rows and thickets[192].
Range Eastern N. America - Virginia and Kentucky, south to Florida and Texas.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Passiflora incarnata Maypops - Passion Flower, Purple passionflower, Apricot Vine, Maypop, Wild Passion Flower, Purple Pa

Passiflora incarnata Maypops - Passion Flower, Purple passionflower, Apricot Vine, Maypop, Wild Passion Flower, Purple Pa


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Bloom Color: Lavender, Pink, Purple. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Spreading or horizontal, Variable height, Variable spread.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Passiflora incarnata is an evergreen Climber growing to 6 m (19ft 8in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit  Leaves
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked in jellies, jams etc[2, 3, 21, 46, 61]183]. A sweet flavour[4], it is best when used as a jelly[95]. High in niacin[160]. Fairly large, the fruit is up to 5cm in diameter[200] though it contains relatively little edible pulp and a lot of seeds[K]. Leaves - raw or cooked. Said to be delicious as a cooked vegetable or when eaten in salads[183]. Flowers - cooked as a vegetable or made into syrup[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidepressant  Antispasmodic  Astringent  Diaphoretic  Epilepsy  Homeopathy  Hypnotic  Narcotic  
Sedative  Vasodilator  Women's complaints

Maypops is a valuable sedative and tranquillising herb with a long history of use in North America[254]. It is frequently used in the treatment of insomnia, epilepsy, hysteria etc[254]. The leaves and stems are antispasmodic, astringent, diaphoretic, hypnotic, narcotic, sedative, vasodilator and are also used in the treatment of women's complaints[4, 7, 21, 46, 61, 165, 192, 207, 238]. The plant is harvested after some of the berries have matured and is then dried for later use[4]. It is used in the treatment of insomnia, nervous tension, irritability, neuralgia, irritable bowel syndrome, pre-menstrual tension and vaginal discharges[4, 21, 165, 192, 207]. An extract of the plant depresses the motor nerves of the spinal cord[213], it is also slightly sedative, slightly reduces blood pressure and increases respiratory rate[222]. The plant contains alkaloids and flavonoids that are an effective non-addictive sedative that does not cause drowsiness[238]. The plant is not recommended for use during pregnancy[238]. A poultice of the roots is applied to boils, cuts, earaches, inflammation etc[222]. The dried plant is exported from America to Europe for medicinal usage[207]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[4]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Passiflora incarnata for nervousness & insomnia (see [302] for critics of commission E).

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Arbor, Container, Seashore. Requires a well-drained soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season, otherwise it is not fussy[1]. Another report says that it prefers a well-drained sandy slightly acid soil in full sun[238]. In a well-drained soil the roots are hardy to about -20°c, although top growth is killed back by frost[160, 200]. The top growth is cut back almost to the ground each year by some people and the plant treated as a herbaceous perennial[88]. The roots should be mulched in winter to prevent them from freezing. Plants thrive in a short growing season[160]. A climbing plant, supporting itself by means of tendrils[222]. Resistant to pests and diseases[160]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Cultivated for its edible fruit by the North American Indians[2, 46]. Plants yield from 5 to 20 fruits annually in the wild[160]. Outdoor grown plants should have their roots restricted in order to encourage fruit production instead of excessive vegetative growth[1]. Hand pollinate using pollen from a flower that has been open for 12 hours to pollinate a newly opened flower before midday[88]. Special Features: North American native, Attracts butterflies, Attractive flowers or blooms. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. Herbaceous. A suckering vine sending up suckers some distance main plant [1-2]. The root pattern is stoloniferous rooting from creeping stems above the ground [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow late winter or early spring in a warm greenhouse. If sown in January and grown on fast it can flower and fruit in its first year[88]. The seed germinates in 1 - 12 months at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. It you are intending to grow the plants outdoors, it is probably best to keep them in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Mulch the roots well in late autumn to protect them from the cold. Cuttings of young shoots, 15cm with a heel, in spring[1]. Leaf bud cuttings in spring. Cuttings of fully mature wood in early summer. Takes 3 months. High percentage[3].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

Rita Pugh   Sat Nov 30 15:51:40 2002

I planted passiflora incarnata L. seeds this spring. They grew into 2-3 foot vines. However, they did not bloom. Why? Thanks for your help.

Vanya Orr   Fri Sep 26 01:55:34 2003

I am working with herbs in the Nilgiri Hills S.India. Passiflora caerulea is used locally (Buds and young leaves as a vegetable. Also for Diabetes and heart conditions. Any other angles on this? Vanya

Alice Woodrome   Tue Nov 30 14:48:41 2004

Passiflora incarnata, contrary to information provided about this plant, do grow okay in the shade, they just don't bloom in the shade, which may be your problem.... not enough sun. Oklahoma zone 7a

swapan gandhi   Tue Mar 29 00:34:07 2005

What is a good resource for Passiflora Incarnata seeds (not cultivars)?

Moabmoni   Thu May 26 21:49:21 2005

This plant is extremely invasive. Be prepared to have it coming up everywhere. The first year it grew very little, but every year after that it has sent suckers up everywhere, even under a sidewalk. I can't seem to get rid of it even by digging up the roots and tearing them out.

Fer   Fri Jul 20 2007

In regards to edible uses for Passiflora incarnata, Cherokee Indians traditionally made a hot drink from the juice from the fruits (often termed "wild apricot" and the Cherokee name does literally translate to "old field apricot"); the "old field apricot drink" or "uwaga aditasdi" was made either fresh, or could be air-fermented to make a mild mead or metheglin. Numerous recipes exist for uwaga aditasdi online; I've included one from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Big part of our culture ;3

Cherokee, NC Official Site: Recipes Recipe for uwaga aditasdi (traditional Cherokee maypop drink)

madhumathi s   Sat Aug 11 2007

More details regarding phytochemical and pharmacological research studies by any others and their contact addresses for a research study undertaken

   Sep 1 2012 12:00AM

Instructions on a packet of P. incarnata seeds from T+M are to sow in compost, keep it at 21C (they explain that's the optimum temperature); it nothing happens in 3 months put it in the fridge for 3-5 months, then try again at 21C and germination should happen in 3 months. Oh, and now hanging about, sow immediately. Sounds from Moabmoni's account like I'll be restricting the root run, but I've a while to wait!

   Sep 25 2012 12:00AM

You have said that the leaves are "edible raw or cooked" but since the leaves are the part that is used medicinally as a rather strong sedative, then consuming the leaves as food would not be at all advised. In my experience of growing and using this plant, even one small leaf, fresh or dried, is a quite strong sedative, so I would discourage anyone from using it for salads or other food use. It is good medicine for PTSD and panic attacks (in my opinion) but strong and to be treated with respect. It combines with other herbal medicines that are sedating to increase effects (valerian, st. john's wort). It is a reversible MAOI, so do your research before using this and be aware if you are taking SSRIs or anything else that an MAOI would be bad to combine with. Be careful.

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