Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Fruit trees for Kempner, Texas
November 29, 2013 - I just moved to Kempner , TX and would like to plant a couple of fruit trees in my 1 1/4 ac yard. I would like to plant a species that will do well and produce edible fruit. Any assistance will be app...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of leaves and berries of lantana
July 19, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants!!! I live in Columbia, SC and have fallen in love with the Lantana or Lanta plants. I have a lot of them because of their rapid growth. My question is -- in addition to all t...
view the full question and answer

Looking for stinging nettle not exposed to pesticides or exhaust
December 26, 2013 - Hi, Thank you for providing this service! I'm interested in foraging and wild edibles in Austin and am wondering if anyone can tell me a spot where I could harvest some Stinging Nettle that is un...
view the full question and answer

Vegetables for sustainable garden in Rochester NY
July 08, 2009 - I have decided to start growing a small sustainable garden. Therefore I have decided to plant mostly North American native greens and vegetables. I live in upstate New York and so the plants designed ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pomegranate failing to fruit from Highland Village TX
October 20, 2012 - Last spring I planted a pomegranate tree (type: Wonderful) which is supposed to produce edible fruit. It had 5 or 6 absolutely beautiful blooms, but each of them dropped off and no sign of fruit. Is...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.