I suspect that most people are familiar with the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” My version is “You CAN teach an old gardener new tricks.” Passionflowers have long been a favorite of mine. I remember their vines sprawling on the fences surrounding my grandmother’s flower garden. Their beautiful flower is so colorful and unusual that it almost seems artificial.
Passionflowers belong to the genus Passiflora with over 500 species. Plants are tendril-bearing vines with some forms existing as shrubs. A vine can grow to over thirty feet long. It climbs by means of long tendrils or sprawls along the ground. Passionflowers produce large usually showy flowers with a distinctive central corona made up of several parts. The petals form a fringe of wavy or crimped, hair-like segments. These intricate, over three-inch wide lavender flowers are formed on short stalks and ripen into large fruit with seeds. If lucky enough to get fruit, it is a large, orange-yellow berry with a very fragrant and delicious, edible pulp widely used in baking.