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True Love Seeds - Passionflower

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05/22/2024 16:15:10
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Passionflower is an American plant that grows from Texas to Florida and up through the lower Midwest to Pennsylvania. The fruits may pop when stepped on, and so they are also called Maypop. The Cherokee in the Tennessee area call it Ocoee, and the Ocoee river valley is named in its honor. The vines, leaves, and flowers make good sleep and anti-anxiety medicine. These fruits are deliciously sweet and tart! I drive home from the farm and eat one or two slowly, carefully removing the pulp from around each little seed.

Passionflower was so named by Spanish missionaries as a teaching tool to explain the passion of Christ - with many of the flower parts representing elements of Jesus's last days and crucifixion (10 petals and sepals = 10 faithful apostles; 5 stamens = 5 wounds; 3 stigmas = 3 nails; corona = crown of thorns; etc).

Passionflower nectar is abundant at the center of the crimped, disc-like corona, so honeybees, carpenter bees, and fritillary butterflies squeeze under one of the five stamens, getting a good pollen rub-down on their way in. At the next flower, the pollen will be received as they brush past one of the three stigmas. Pollination!

Our original seeds came from plants that grow semi-wild (but started as one garden plant and was spread by animals), at the Deitrich's farm outside Elmer, NJ, where the Experimental Farm Network flagship farm is based. Nathan Kleinman of EFN brought us a few fruits in 2015. We planted their seeds and now we have a sprawling patch in a corner of our hoop house for medicine, pollinator support, sweet/sour snacking, and seed saving.