Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

State Flower of Tennessee

This flowering vine is also called Maypops. It is commonly found along roadsides and open woodland of the southeast. Passionflower spread easily but is also easily contained. The fruit is also edible. The vine likes to climb so the best place for it is next to a fence or a trellis.

The Cherokee had many uses for this perennial. A compound infusion of the roots used for boils; pounded roots applied to “draw out inflammation” of brier or locust wounds; an infusion was given to babies to help in weaning; a warm infusion of beaten roots dropped into the ear for an earache; and an infusion was given for liver ailments. As a food source the fruit can be eaten but the seed is not. The fruit was crushed and used as a social beverage and the leaves were also eaten as greens.

At the Cherokee Garden, our Purple Passionflower looks quite sad because in the fall the Gulf Fritillary caterpillars have eaten all the leaves. This plant is the host plant for the Gulf Fritillary.

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