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

Are flower petals poisonous?
December 01, 2008 - Is it toxic to eat the petals on a flower? Ashley
view the full question and answer

Can bluebonnets be made into jelly from Ennis TX
May 07, 2013 - Are Texas bluebonnet flowers okay for human consumption? I have seen recipes for wild violet jelly,so was wondering about making bluebonnet jelly from the bluebonnet blossoms if they are not poisonous...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on edible and medicinal native plants
October 06, 2004 - I would like a list of edible & medicinal native plants for the San Antonio area.
view the full question and answer

Period to maturity of gooseberries in Bismarck AR
December 29, 2009 - How long does it take to produce gooseberries after planting?
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion on slope in Texas
June 19, 2010 - We have an erosion problem developing on the low side of a gently sloping hill. We are in clay soil at the base of the hill with oaks and pines. We have a right of way that is without trees forty fee...
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