Passiflora incarnata, commonly called maypop, purple passionflower or wild passion flower, is a fast-growing vine that bears oval, edible fruitsand vegetables. This vine is native to the southern and southeastern plains regions of the U.S., but it might grow in drier Mediterranean spaces also because of its comparatively superior drought tolerance. Maypop grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 11. Based on where the plant is being expanded, the fruits may ripen anywhere between late July and October.
Maypop blossoms start to produce fruit in May, but the fruits take a while to ripen. Warmer areas can see ripe fruit as early as late July, and flowering and fruiting can continue into October. The fruits all start off as green, with most turning yellow or somewhat orange as time goes on, though some may remain green even into their ripe stage. The fruit will be somewhat soft when ripe and can fall from the vine. If you cut open a fruit, then a ripe one ought to have a mass of light, soft arils encompassing seeds that are dark.
The blossoms of the maypop or purple passionflower fulfill their name. The petals are white to light purple with a purple-striped fringe extending in the middle of the blossom. The petals and fringe are occasionally bent back. When viewed from directly overhead, the blossoms look like they have alternating rings of white and purple radiating out from the middle of the blossom. The flowers start appearing in late spring and continue for only one day before they begin producing fruit.
Ripe maypop fruit has its fans and detractors — the arils are generally tart-sweet but not as sweet as the ones found in passion fruit (Passiflora edulis, USDA zones 9b through 11). You may use maypops to make jam or eat the raw fruit. To eat it raw, either strain out the seeds or suck the arils from the seeds. The crunchy seeds are also edible. For maypop fruit that stays green when ripe, larger fruit might taste better.
Maypop is an aggressive plant that can quickly grow out of control. It has escaped cultivation and become a problem weed in fields and pastures. Assess on its invasive status locally before planting it.