Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Pale passionvine - Passiflora pallens
Pale passionvine naturally is found in hardwood hammocks and the edge of forested wetlands. Unlike purple passionvine, it tolerates low light levels and clambers up into the forest canopy to seek additional light. Large numbers of flowers occur from spring through fall. Each bloom is about 2 inches across. The petals are white or with a slight purple blush while the many filaments are banded in deeper violet. Although it has remained evergreen in our Pinellas County landscape, it does not flower during the winter here and grows very little. The flowers close during the evening and open by late morning. They are slightly fragrant, and plants in full bloom can be detected some distance away. They are pollinated by bumblebees. The fruit is similar to that of purple passionvine, but is lower in acidity and not nearly as tasty. The leaves are only slightly lobed. They resemble those of yellow passionvine (P. lutea), but are several inches across.
Pale passionvine is a beautiful wildflower with the same butterfly-garden role as its other native cousins, but it is only infrequently offered for sale by nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. Our plant has set seed and we are optimistic that we can offer it in the future at Hawthorn Hill. Although we have kept this plant in our landscape for more than a year, it has not been tested against freezing temperatures or extreme drought. As a south Florida native, it may not be cold tolerant. It is most likely tolerant of enough drought as to be adaptable to most landscape settings.