Passiflora caerulea – Bluecrown Passionflower
Scientific Name: Passiflora caerulea
Common Names: Bluecrown Passionflower, Blue-crown Passionflower, Blue Passionflower, Blue Passion Flower
Growth Habit: Vine
Arizona Native Status: Introduced. This ornamental garden vine is native to South America, and although not yet officially recorded in Arizona, it has become naturalized in at least one riparian area here. These vines were observed growing wild in and around the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve.
Habitat: Riparian. This plant grows at the sunlit margins of moist, humid riparian woodlands, where it climbs trees and other plants.
Flower Color: Pale green to white with blue filaments
Flowering Season: Summer, Fall (early). This wildflower blooms after the summer monsoon rains have begun.
Height: Up to 30 feet (9 m) tall in favored locations
Description: The flowers are up to 4 inches (10 cm) across, surrounded by green, broadly egg-shaped bracts, and have 10 round-tipped, pale green to white tepals (5 petals and 5 petal-like sepals) and fleshy, blue-tipped filaments with a middle band of white and dark purple-black at their base. The flowers are followed by egg-shaped, up to 2 inch (5 cm) in diameter, green ripening to orange or yellow fruit with soft, loose, juicy, red pulp surrounding the seeds. Birds and animals enjoy the fruit and are responsible for spreading the seeds. The leaves have smooth margins and are dark green, hairless, alternate, and palmately lobed with 5 to 9 ovate-oblong lobes. The stems have coiling tendrils and are green, slender, and hairless.
The similar Arizona Passionflower (Passiflora foetida var. arizonica) has hairy, foul-smelling leaves and stems and flowers with net-like, gland-tipped bracts and filaments with white at their base, while Cupped Passionflower (Passiflora bryonioides) has hairy stems and leaves with toothed or lobed margins.
Butterfly Plant – Bluecrown Passionflower is a larval food plant for Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) butterflies.
Edible – The ripe red fruit pulp is edible, but it's not very flavorful.
Fragrant – Some cultivated varieties of this plant have fragrant flowers.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Passifloraceae – Passion-flower family
Genus: Passiflora L. – passionflower
Species: Passiflora caerulea L. – bluecrown passionflower