Passion Flowers are perennial vines that are found mostly in the Southeastern United States. These beautiful flowering vines can grow up to 20 feet high. Passion Flower vines provide beautiful, fragrant flowers, as well as edible fruit. Many parts of the Passion Flower are edible and also have medicinal uses. The various essential parts of the Passion Flower are the tendril vines, the leaves, the flowers, the fruit and the root system.
The vines of the Passion Flower cling to fences, trees, other plants and walls. The Passion Flower is considered a tendril vine because of the spiral-like tendrils that are used by the plant to support it as it climbs. The vines grow rapidly and therefore need to be wrapped around a trellis or placed along a fence where they can spread out.
The leaves of the Passion Flower are large, three-lobed and serrated. The Passion Flower leaves can grow as large as 4 inches wide in favorable growing conditions. Passion Flower leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked and eaten like spinach or other greens. The leaves have been used as a diuretic and to reduce the inflammation of hemorrhoids on people in South America.
The flowers of the Passion Flower vine grow to around 3 to 5 inches in diameter. They begin as a flat, oval bud and open to reveal five petals and five sepals. Passion Flowers can be white, red, or purple. Surrounding the center of the flower are filaments that vary in color. Closer to the center of the flower are five golden anthers surrounding three brown stigmas that are located in the very center of the flower.
The fruit of the Passion Flower is edible and is sometimes used in alternative medicine. The fruit ranges in color from yellow to orange when ripe and grow up to 5 inches in diameter. The Passion Flower fruit is ripe when it appears wrinkled and changes from green to yellow or orange. The fruit has a tart, tangy flavor and contains many seeds. The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked and made into jam, or juice.
The Passion Flower's root system is small, which makes it easy to grow in pots. As a potted plant, Passion Flower growth can be kept in check. When grown in the ground, the short root system grows outward in a side-spreading pattern. New Passion Flower vines can pop out of the ground several feet or more from the mother plant. The rapid growth rate of the Passion Flower vines roots makes it a great flowering vine for a fence or trellis. However, it can also become invasive if allowed to grow too close to a vegetable garden.