Passiflora incarnata, known commonly as the maypop, is an evergreen perennial vine with the capability of reaching up to fifteen feet in a single season. Find P. incarnata growing in sites receiving full sun with humus and moisture rich soils as well as in nutrient poor, sandy sites. Grown as a food crop, herbal supplement and for the landscaping industry, P. incarnata has many uses.
Passiflora incarnata contains natural alkaloids and flavonoids. The leaves, stems, roots, blossoms, fruits and seeds are all used in some way. The root is made into a poultice to treat cuts, swelling, earache and boils. Reportedly, a tea made from the stems and leaves of P. incarnata aids in relieving the symptoms of epilepsy, shingles, herpes, pre-menstrual tension, neuralgia, vaginal discharge and insomnia. This tea is used to lower high blood pressure and works as a non-habit forming sedative. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid using P. incarnata.
Its quick growth, large exotic-looking purple blossoms and the minimal care required to keep it healthy has made P. incarnata a popular landscaping plant. This vine quickly scrambles up trellises, arbors and across disturbed ground. It attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects. This vine produces copious amounts of medium to large-sized leaves making it suitable as a quick shade-producing plant.
A healthy P. incarnata vine produces ample crops of sweet tasting, lime shaped fruits. The rich pulp is enjoyed by people eaten fresh, turned it into drinks, jams, pastries and ice cream. Animals are attracted to the ripened fruits as well. The gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanilla) butterfly uses this vine as a host species for its larva.