Monday, October 03, 2011

If You Plant It, They Will Come!

The passionvine, Passiflora caerulea, that grows next to my gate has been a lot of fun this year. First, it was covered in these fantastical flowers. And I do mean covered. Then each flower became a strange green fruit, which turned orange.  

I planted this for the foliage and flowers but began thinking I might have a new taste treat that I hadn't expected. However, when I cracked one fruit open there was no flesh to speak of, although there were some beautiful seeds. I went so far as to taste the seeds and try to scrape some flesh off the skin but it really wasn't worth it. Maybe I need to find a way to juice the seeds.
Now there is one more reason to enjoy the vine. It has been discovered by Gulf Fritillaries, which I didn't even know lived here! A beautiful butterfly, I have seen several of them staying close to the vine and, I have to assume, laying eggs on the leaves. Passiflora is the food source for the larval form of the butterfly and my vine has grown happily, maybe even rampantly, providing lots of potential sustenance. 

 Some accounts say the Gulf Fritillary larva can decimate the plant. I will wait and see what happens. It is a very vigorous vine so there may be plenty to share. And the caterpillars are so cool and spiny looking! I can't wait to see some...maybe soon!


Gail said...

I love these butterfly! I was thrilled to spot one in my garden yesterday. How disappointing that there was no pulp, but, I can now understand why I have vines everywhere. That's a lot of seeds. Now if only they would flower! xogail

Portland pest control said...

Without pain, there will be no gain. And you also have to have that green miracle on your thumb to produce amazingly beautiful plants on your garden.

Unknown said...

Oooh... I'm totally in love with your passionflower! The flowers and the fruit are both so Dr. Suess (and I mean that in a completely awesome way) that I think I need to grow one of these in the future. Even though I know I'll have to haul it inside every winter.

Keep us updated on those beautiful butterflies, too, please! :)

Kate said...

Don't worry about your Passion vines, they can take it! There was an explosion of Gulf Fritillaries last year. We even had one come visit us in the foothills.