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BLUE PASSIONFLOWER

PASSION VINE

Passiflora caerulea

Blue Passionflower Family [Passifloraceae]

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category
category8Climbers
 
category
category8Semievergreen
 
status
statusZalien
 
flower
flower8cream
 
inner
inner8green
 
inner
inner8brown
 
inner
inner8indigo
 
inner
inner8yellow
 
inner
inner8blue
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ10
(5 + 5)
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8turps
turps
toxicity
toxicityZmedium
 

9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A climber that can reach 10m in length, although not necessarily in height.


2nd Aug 2005, a garden fence, nr Burscough Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
With somewhat large (approx and strikingly exotic-looking flowers like no other genera. There seem to be ten rounded off-white petals, but in fact only five of these are petals, the five similar in the row behind are sepals (those with reddish spines at their tips)


2nd Aug 2005, a garden fence, nr Burscough Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
And inner geometrical structures, of which, more following.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The flower starts as a grape-sized bud with five green sepals each a reddish spine at the tip.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Like Hedge Bindweed and others belonging to the Convolvulaceae family, the bud is cupped within purplish net-veined bracts, except here there are three bracts rather than the two of Bindweeds


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The spines ate the tip of the five sepals are seen clearer in the top bud. The bottom 'bud' consists of just three empty bracts.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Spiny sepals cupped by three bracts.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Within the sepals lurk the five spineless petals and the emerging inner contents of the flower.


10th sept 2009, nr. Burscough Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Petals and sepals fully open, but intricate innards still to attain correct position.


10th sept 2009, nr. Burscough Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The three arms of the purple stigmas have yet to fold down, and three of the five anthers bearing yellow pollen have yet to rotate 90° and swivel 180° over to face inwards.


10th sept 2009, nr. Burscough Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The yellow pollen is only visible in recently opened flowers, later on they turn over facing inwards. The two slits in the top anther with rolled-over flaps are not fully open. The slits open up, then the rolled over flaps fold out to reveal the yellow pollen grains: shown by the fully opened anther on the right which is displaying the bright yellow pollen within. Note the spiggot where the anther swivels in two differing axes about the stigma on the bottom anther.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
An opened flower showing the 3D structure of the plant. From right to left:
Five spine-tipped sepals and five similarly-coloured but spineless petals.
A corolla of two stacked rings of thin tri-coloured nectarines bearing nectar.
A beetroot-purple ring of very short filaments within an annular depression
A slightly raised central circular disc: the ovary. Another ring of longer beetroot-purple filaments sliding up:
A central green stigmatic column supporting:
A ring of five green stamens from which are attached five inward-facing rectangular anthers
And at the tip of the stigma a triangular-spoked beetroot-purple stigma.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Another viewpoint of the unique structure of the Passionflower inflorescence. The anthers with their yellow pollen are now just above the numerous nectarines bearing nectar, presumably such that an insect feeding on the nectar gets pollen on their backs, ready to pass it onto the three stigmas being dangled just above, perhaps from a previously visited flower.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The five light-green stamens are borne from an annular ring around the central stigma and then split into the five separate stamens with rectangular anthers 'tacked on' hanging below.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Five stigmas with rectangular anthers and a stigma which splits into three at the summit.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The yellow pollen coats the underside of the rectangular anthers.
Each of the three purple arms of the stigma bears a hemispherical inward facing structure that is activated by pollen.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The double ring of nectarine filaments are beetroot coloured tapering white tapering cerulean blue.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Leaves are glossy, mid-green and narrowly-lobed palmate.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Most leaves have five narrow lobes.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
But some have seven. No doubt some may have as few as three.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The edges of the leaves are reddish. Leaves are net-veined with a central lighter vein.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
It clings on and climbs by means of tendrils which curl around nearby structures for support. It clings on and climbs by means of tendrils which curl around nearby structures for support.


9th Aug 2012, a pub garden, Allithwaite, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Stems go woody with dark streaks.


Spring 2015, a garden, nr. Instow, North Devon. Photo: © Lynne Crofts
The fruits (near top) are green at first ripening to a peach-colour. In the UK a warm location is necessary in order that Passionflower produces fruit.


Not to be semantically confused with : Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) [a plant with similar name belonging to the Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)]

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

Despite the numerous rayed petals this plant does not belong to the Dandelion & Daisy Family (Asteraceae).

It is a climber, clambering by tendrils up to 10 metres in length, although not necessarily all in height. It has an un-pleasant odour said to be similar to turpentine. It bears rather small bright orange coloured fruits which although edible, are somewhat insipid.

There are about 500 different varieties of Passion Flower, many are cultivated garden plant. The fruit is edible in one variety, Purple Passionflower (Passiflora edulis), and is grown in South America, South Florida, South Africa and the Caribbean as a commercial crop abroad which are called 'Passion Fruit', this variety producing a purple fruit.Passion Fruit is often added to other fruits in the making of concentrated cordials to enhance the aroma. In Israel a wine or 'Sicar' is made from Passion Fruits. Sweet Grandilla (Passiflora ligularis) . Another much rarer non-native variety, Giant Grandilla (Passiflora quadrangularis) is also grown commercially for its' much larger Passion Fruit. Several other species are grown for their fruits, some banana-shaped as in the Banana Passionfruits produced by two species, (Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima) and (Passiflora tarminiana).

Most other species of Passionflower produce poisonous fruits and are poisonous themselves.

It is much more likely to be found growing in someones' garden as a garden flower than in the wild. The one variety which does grow wild, Passiflora caerulea, is rather tender and sensitive to heavy frosts, and is therefore only likely to be found growing wild in a major city in the UK which has a considerable 'heat-island' effect such that temperatures at night do not fall quite so low as in the rural areas. Such a place appears to be Greater London, which is where it is most often found wild.

Many species of Passion flower exude a nutrient-rich nectar which attracts ants that will then attack and kill other insect pests of the plant that happen to be feeding on the flowers. It thus encourages ants for its own defence.

A FLAVONE

 Chrysin is a flavone which is harvested from Blue Passionflower for its supposed health properties, and is said to reduce anxiety and treat insomnia, hysteria and epilepsy. Chrysin is yellow and it will variously yield a yellow dye when mordanted with aluminium, an orange dye mordanted with chromium or a chocolate-brown dye mordanted with iron, the same as does Apigenin.

ANTHOCYANIDINS

Pelargonidin is a bright orange coloured anthocyanidin, which are all necessarily anti-oxidants. It is found as the glycoside or diglycoside (or both) in Red Geraniums and in the fruits of Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberries, Plum, Cranberry and in large amounts in Red Kidney Beans.


The diglycoside of Pelargonidin is found in Blue Passionflower. Much reference is made of the 3-diglycoside of Pelargonidin within Blue Passionflower, but no structural diagrams are ever presented and neither is it claimed to be present in any other plant. However, the 3-,5-diglycoside of Pelargonidins are extensively referenced within the literature, with structural diagrams too, and the Author therefore believes that it is the 3-,5-diglycoside that is present in Blue Passionflower rather than the oft quoted and probably non-existent '3-diglycoside' (although there is a 3-glycoside of Pelargonidin which is also found in the fruits of Strawberry) and many other reddish plants.

It seems probable that Pelargonidin-3,5-diglycoside adopts a red colour within the acidic environment of the fruits of Blue Passionflower.

BETA-CARBOLINE HARMALA ALKALOIDS

β-Carbolines are all based upon the Carboline skeleton, shown above, which is an indole moiety with an extra fused pyridine ring. It is not said to be present in Blue Passionflower. β-Carboline has a similar structure to Tryptoline and Pinoline, which are all related to the Tryptamines which like β-Carboline are all indole alkaloids. Tryptamine plays a natural role in the human brain as a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator and Pinoline is produced in the pineal gland during the metabolism of melatonin, so it is little wonder that chemical mimics like the β-carbolines can interfere with this system. And so it is: the β-carbolines are psychoactive substances.

Blue Passionflower contains small quantities (up to 0.01%) of several β-carboline harmala alkaloids which are Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI) and have anti-depressant properties. Harman is the most common, but Harmaline, Harmine and Harmol have also been found within Blue Passion Flower (and several other Passionflowers).


Harmaline is a CNS stimulating alkaloid and many of these compounds, and some others, play a role in the mind altering properties of a drink called ayahuasca which is prepared from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, which grows in South America in countries such as Peru.



Harmine is fluorescent green under UV illumination.

β-Carbolines are also produced within the poisonous Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala) (from which the Harmala alkaloids are named) is another non-native plant native to Iran which has medicinal uses. Compared to Passionflower which has only 0.01% Harmala alkaloids and is not considered very psychoactive, Syrian Rue contains over 5% and is.

ODOROUS ESTERS WITHIN PASSION FRUITS


Esters such as EthylButyrate, Ethyl Caproate (aka Ethyl Hexanoate) (both of these smells similar to Pineapple), n-Hexyl butyrate (apple like smell) and n-Hexyl Caproate (aka Hexyl Hexanoate) give the fruits their fruity smell. Many of these fruity-smelling compounds are used in the baking, confectionery, food and perfume industry. Many have deleterious effects in the concentrated pure liquid form, but are innocuous in the tiny amounts used commercially. Indeed, since many fruits contain these or similar esters, they too would be inedible if they were deleterious to health.

The hydrocarbon Nonacosane is also present in some species but this cannot be the terpene responsible for the un-pleasant turpentine-like odour in Blue Passionflower since nonacosane is odourless, but it may play a role in the attraction of ants, since Nonacosane has been reported to be a pheromone component of the moth Ogyryia leucostigma.

A CYANOGENIC GLYCOSIDE

Other alkaloids found within Blue Passionflower include the Cyanogenic Glycoside Gynocardin, which was originally found in the seeds of Gynocardia odorata, a non-native evergreen tree from the Far East belonging to the Achariaceae family which is unknown in the UK.

Gynocardin, as a cyanogenic glycoside containing latent hydrocyanic acid (by means of the CN group), is poisonous when eaten, the poisonous cyanide only being released as the sugar(s) are metabolised. For modus operandi of cyanogenic glycosides, see Bracken.

CAROTENOID DEGRADATION PRODUCTS


β-Damascenone is a florally scented compound found in Roses, Tomatos, and in the fruits of Raspberry, Blackberry, Apricot, Grape, Kiwi, Mangos and Passionfruit. It is also found in drinks such as beer, wine and rum.

Theaspirone is a spirofuran compound found in the fruits of Yellow Passionflower but also in the non-natives Black Tea and Burley Tobacco. It too is a volatile aroma compound and an odiferous principle of tea.


Oxoedulan I and Oxoedulan II are both found within Purple Passionfruits (rather than the yellow fruits of Blue Passionflower). The only difference between the two Oxoedulans are the stereoisometric positioning of one of the two the lone methyl groups, both are flavour/aroma compounds derived from the decomposition of carotenoids. They are also both found in the non-native plants Burley Tobacco, Virginia Tobacco and shrubs of the Osmanthus Genus (in the (Oleaceae) family).

AROMA COMPOUNDS containing SULFUR


Both of these sulfurous ring compounds are to be found in trace amounts (less than 20ppb) in yellow Passionfruits, such as Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa, where even in those minuscule amounts contribute to the odour and flavour. The γ-Sultines (chiral cyclic (or bicyclic) sulfinates and are not not 'sulfines' mis-spelled) were a new class of flavour compounds in the year 2000.


  Passiflora caerulea  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Passifloraceae  

Distribution
 family8Blue Passionflower family8Passifloraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Passiflora
Passiflora
(Passion Flowers / Passion Vines)

BLUE PASSIONFLOWER

PASSION VINE

Passiflora caerulea

Blue Passionflower Family [Passifloraceae]