The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: What is Passiflora like?

A: The genus Passiflora (passion flowers, passion fruit) contains about 350 vine species that live in warm or tropical habitats. Only one species, Passiflora foetida, is thought to be a potentially carnivorous plant. When the plant flowers, it makes glandular bracts. Digestive enzymes have been found inside the plant's tissues, but not on the bract surfaces.

I have grown this plant once. It germinated in both peat:sand and regular potting soil mixes. It enjoyed being kept moist, and tolerated both full and partial sun. It produced long, tendril-bearing, climbing branches and soon became an annoyance in the greenhouse. The flowers were typical passion flower in layout, but only lasted for a few hours. Fruit were produced from my plants, perhaps by pollinators in the greenhouse. (Only a tiny fraction of all the flowers yielded fruit--I do not know if this was due to a lack of pollinators or because of other issues.)

Alas, the plants I grew did not have glandular bracts. The bracts were highly branched ("dissected"), but not glandular. I have been told this is because not all the varieties in the species have such glands. Perhaps because of the lack of glands, I saw no carnivorous or prey-capturing activity.

I have also seen plants in the wild, in the Sonoran desert (Arizona, USA) and near an estuary (Yucatan, Mexico). These plants were more glandular, but I saw no signs of captured prey.

Page citations: Radhamanim, et al., 1995; Rice, B.A. 2006a; Schlauer, J. 1998; personal observations.

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Revised: 2018
©Barry Rice, 2018