Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Saturday - July 12, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Corona de Cristo, guest or pest?
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

We have had two recent speakers at the Austin Butterfly Forum with differing views as to whether Passiflora foetida is invasive in Texas. One believes that it's well-behaved and a a great butterfly plant; the other says that it should never be planted because it is highly aggressive. I assume there's some truth in both viewpoints. Can you provide any information about the conditions under which it is invasive?

ANSWER:

According to the USDA Plants Database, Passiflora foetida is both native and introduced to the continental United States. It can be also be found in northern South America and the West Indies and in South East Asian countries like Vietnam and on Hawaii. The Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) lists Passiflora foetida as a perennial herbaceous vine that originated from tropical America, and is now a pantropic weed climbing over low vegetation on roadsides and in other disturbed places, especially in the tropics. Because it forms a dense ground cover, it can prevent or delay the establishment of other species. It favors wet areas and disturbed sites but can tolerate arid conditions. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council lists it as an invasive plant.

In conclusion, if you are willing to manage its aggressive vegetative growth and properly dispose of any fruits that form, you will find it is an excellent larval host plant for the Gulf Fritillary. It seems more likely that it would be more agressive in the tropical environs from which it originated than in the dry climate of Austin, Texas.

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Whitefly infestation in roses and salvia
June 15, 2007 - Several of my outdoor plants (including Knockout roses and salvia) have a white residue on the stems. If I touch it a white bug jumps off. The residue can be wiped off or sprayed off, but the little...
view the full question and answer

Chipmunk in the garden.
August 27, 2008 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a rogue chipmunk this year (never had one before doing this) who is eating roots and digging holes in all my plant containers. I have tried Plant Skyd (excellent deer r...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to Mexican olive in Austin
December 13, 2009 - I have a Mexican Olive tree/bush. It is young - about 8 ft. tall. This last freeze in Austin made many of its leaves turn black. I got this from your database: "Its native range extends no farther...
view the full question and answer

Leaves wrinkling on Tecoma stans from San Antonio TX
August 16, 2013 - My two year old esperanza (planted in the ground) froze back last winter, came back from the roots & has been doing well all summer. Recently one branch has leaves that are nice & green but very wrin...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Thuga occidentalis in Canton MI
May 11, 2009 - I have emerald arborvitae that have become very "shaggy" and somewhat orange at the base of some leaves, while my neighbors look compact and dark green. What am I doing wrong?
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.