Foetid Passion Flower or Stinking
Passion Flower (Passiflora foetida), also known as the Wild Maracuja
or Running Pop, is a creeping vine which has an edible fruit and
leaves that have a mildly rank aroma. It is native to northern South
America and the West Indies. The stems are thin, wiry and woody,
covered with sticky yellow hairs. The leaves are three- to
five-lobed and viscid-hairy. They give off an unpleasant odour when
crushed. The flowers are white to pale cream coloured, about 5-6 cm
diameter. The fruit is globose, 2-3 cm diameter, yellowish-orange to
red when ripe, and has numerous black seeds embedded in the pulp;
the fruit are eaten and the seeds dispersed by birds.
The bracts of this plant serve as insect traps, but it is as yet
unknown whether the plant digests and gains nourishment from the
trapped insects or if it merely uses the bracts as a defensive
mechanism to protect its flowers and fruit. This is still an issue
of debate and research among carnivorous plant enthusiasts.
This passion flower tolerates arid ground, but favours wet areas. It
is known to be an invasive species in some areas.