Q: In summer where I grew up there were wild vines that bloomed similar to passion vine. They produced a globe-shaped fruit. As kids, we’d throw the ripe fruits at each other like bombs. My mother told us the fruits were edible – they tasted slightly sweet and contained lots of seeds. Is this wild maypop vine the same as passion vine?
A: Your memories coincide with mine. Maypops made GREAT ammunition for war games in abandoned fields! Passion vine, Passiflora incarnata, produced the edible fruit we pitched so passionately. Like morning glory vine, the seed of passion flower sprout in abundance and it sometimes becomes an easy-to-control weed.
Passion flower foliage is food for Zebra longwing, Julia and Gulf fritillary butterflies. Gardeners have selected improved cultivars of the vine, including ‘Lavender Lady’, ‘Blue Crown’ and ‘Ruby Glow’.
The frilly flowers, in shades of blue to purple-red are quite ornamental. I have an area where the vines grow and flower over nondescript azaleas each summer.