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Featured Plant

Passiflora parritae


Scientific Name: Passiflora parritae

Common Names: Passion vine

Family: Passifloraceae

Plant Type: Vine

Environment: Prefers cool temperatures and some extra watering. San Francisco's climate is optimal, particularly in Golden Gate Park.

Bloom: Large brilliant orange flowers appear in August/September; known to bloom sporadically throughout the year as well

Uses: Difficult to find, can be used as a container plant with a trellis and great for growing in medium size trees

Other: John MacDougal, a botanist noted for his work on the taxonomy of passion flowers, gave the last known remaining clone of P. parritae to SFBG from a plant in central Colombia, which is still the source of our plants in the Garden. Two cultivars have been created in our nursery using P. parritae as a parent: Passiflora 'Mission Dolores' and Passiflora 'Strybing Pink'.



Passiflora parritae

The San Francisco Botanical Garden is a living museum of plants, some of which are believed to no longer exist in their native habitats. One of these is the flamboyant passion vine, Passiflora parritae, whose seeds were brought here from the cloud forests of Colombia many years ago. The pendant six to ten inch flowers hang in flame-color profusion from the branches of a myrtle tree in the Andean Cloud Forest garden. It's a stunning sight for visitors, and a rewarding one for the nursery volunteers who propagated it successfully after many false starts. This particular passion vine cannot survive summer heat, but thrives in San Francisco's cool, foggy summers and mild rainy winters.

Passiflora means "passion flower," and was named (according to legend) by the early Spanish Jesuits, the first white men to see a curious vine growing on the beaches of Colombia. They saw a resemblance between the crown of filaments in the center of the blossom to Christ's crown of thorns, and took it as a good omen for their future conversion of the indigenous people.

The genus, Passiflora, contains about 465 species that are mostly vines in tropical forests. They survive intense shade and competition for space by using tendrils to cling and climb to the tops of trees reaching the sun. Passifloras vary widely in both leaves and blossoms. One such example, P. quadrangularis, has delicious edible fruits called granadilla, and is widely planted in tropical regions of North and South America.


Photos by Joanne Taylor, Text by Kathy McNeil, Profile by David Kruse-Pickler


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