Garden

Passion flower - Passiflora

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The passion flower

Over the years the name Passiflora, which means Flower of the Passion, has evoked images and thoughts that go into the world of eroticism, even going so far as to consider the fruit of this plant as an aphrodisiac; unfortunately those who considered the name of this plant in this way made a serious mistake: Linnaeus christened Passiflora a genus of plants whose flower had evoked the common name passion flower to the Jesuits pushed up to South America; these religious in fact saw in the flower of Passiflora the signs of the Passion of Christ, then the crown of thorns, the nails of the cross, the hammer with which they were driven into the flesh of Jesus Christ. So nothing to do with eroticism, or the aphrodisiac qualities of the fruit. Although this story is well known, the use of passion fruit in sodas and fruit juices inevitably leads to advertisements with half-naked young ladies, certainly making Linnaeus and the Jesuit fathers who first saw these flowers turn inside the tomb.

The Passiflora genus has hundreds of species of climbing plants, and shrubs, most of which originate from South America, of large rain forests; some species are of Asian and Australian origin. Passiflora originates from the Latin "passio" and originates from the tropical and sub-tropical areas of America, Brazil and Mexico. It groups over five hundred species of evergreens, with various characteristics and delicate nature: its ideal cultivation is that carried out in a greenhouse, which allows an ideal development of the plant from Peru: its flowers are particularly fragrant and with a lively purple color adorned by filaments whose shades alternate from white to red. There minimum winter cultivation temperature must not be less than 5 degrees and a strong brightness must be guaranteed to encourage flowering. Watering must also be fundamental: constant and frequent throughout the year, except in winter, especially if it is rigid.


Features

They have a characteristic thin, semi-woody stem, often quadrangular in shape, hollow inside, very branched; in Europe mainly climbing species are cultivated, the most widespread is certainly Passiflora caerulea, with the typical white and blue flowers. The passiflore creepers are fairly rapid and vigorous, they are semi-evergreen: therefore they lose their foliage in areas where the climate becomes particularly harsh during the winter; they keep the foliage in areas where the winter climate is mild.

Over the years they develop conspicuous vegetation, which can exceed 5-6 meters in height, with the development of a few meters of branches in a single growing season.

The subtle ones drums they present tendrils to the leaf axil, with which the plant clings to any support it can find. The foliage is dark green in color, palmate, trefoil, or even imparipinnate, thin and slightly opaque on the upper page.

THE flowers they bloom in succession throughout the summer, attract butterflies and bees, and in summer give way to small oval-shaped berries, edible in some species; the passion fruit is quite particular, inside the leathery skin of the berries there is a non-cohesive, soft pulp, in which the seeds drown, everything is consumed, gelatinous pulp and seeds, with the help of a spoon.

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