En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 19, 2007

From: Watkinsville, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Edibility of fruit of Passiflora incarnata
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We have Passion flower vines growing, blooming and producing fruit all over our property and the land nearby. They are growing wild. We are near Greensboro, Georgia which is barely in the Northeast part of the state. I love the flowers and I want to know whether the fruit is edible. I have observed it for several years and not yet seen any of the green fruit change color. I looked up some information and found that a variety that grows in Australia has green fruit, but it did not look quite like our plants. Can you tell me how to find out whether our fruit is edible?

ANSWER:

At least two native passionflowers call Georgia home, but by far the most common species there is Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower), also known colloquially as maypop. Maypop's fruit is about the size and shape (without the fuzz) of a kiwifruit when mature. When ripe, the skin of the fruit wrinkles slightly, changes color to a greenish-yellow to yellow to brownish-yellow and softens. At this point the fruit (technically a berry) is edible. Yours should be ripening soon.

The seed-filled pulp of the fruit is the part that is eaten. The fruits of some individual plants are tastier than those on other plants of the species. Some people do not care for the taste at all. There probably is not an Emily Post-like way of eating maypops, but children just seem to know that you should break them open - they often make an audible pop in the process - and squeeze the contents, seeds and all, into your mouth where you strain and swallow the sweet-tart pulp and spit out the glob of seeds. Dainty no, delicious yes.

You are right that there is surprisingly little information on the Internet about this sweet summer treat. We are sure that as time goes by, more information will be posted online extolling the virtues of this wonderful native fruit.

 

From the Image Gallery


Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

More Edible Plants Questions

List of plants native to the Abilene, Texas area
September 15, 2011 - Am looking for direction to a complete list of plants native to the Abilene, Taylor County, Texas area (trees, shrubs, grasses, cacti and other plants that grew here before cultivation, eradication or...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification in Georgia
September 14, 2011 - I saw the same question that I was going to ask about the plant that folds its leaves at dusk, with sparse branches, rapid growth, small yellow flowers and long (whisker-like, but do not appear to be ...
view the full question and answer

Are yellow bells (Tecoma stans) edible?
January 25, 2009 - Can you tell me if any part of the yellow bell can be eaten and if so what part. Also is it useful in making natural paints?
view the full question and answer

Edible native salad ingredients
May 28, 2009 - Hi, I'm hoping to make a salad for a school Horticulture project, but I'm having a hard time finding some edible plants. I live in Vermont, and am hoping to find some edible flowers and 'weeds' a...
view the full question and answer

Native Edible Plants of Pennsylvania Books
April 25, 2013 - What is the best book that you know of for finding wild plant edibles in Pennsylvania?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center