Passiflora - "cavalier star"
Passiflora belongs to a large (about 300 species) passionate family, which includes many herbs and shrubs. Passiflora is a thermophilic plant; therefore, it grows in the tropics and subtropics: in South America, Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, Sumatra, etc. The passiflora grows in very different places - tropical forests, steppes, savannas, and sultry deserts.
Passiflora (another name for the plant "passionflower") is one of the most beautiful and unusual plants in the world. Passionflower really is not like any other flower. Inside the wide-open, brightly colored double perianth, an even brighter crown of long straight or wavy threads. In the middle of the flower stands an ovary with three crosswise stigmas surrounded by five stamens with large oblong anthers. It is impossible to describe the passion flower. You must see it with your own eyes.
At the beginning of the XX century. Spanish missionaries who came to South America after Columbus were amazed to see the passion flower. The perianth crown seemed to them like a crown of thorns, stamens and pestle - like instruments of torture, and all together - like "an instrument of the passions of the Lord." Hence the name passiflora, consisting of two Latin words — passion and color, which in the Russian translation means the same.
There is another beautiful Russian name for the passion flower - “cavalier star”. For its charm, sophistication and luxury, the passion flower was compared with a cavalier star - one of the most beautiful awards of Tsarist Russia, a star of the Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, decorated with gold, diamonds and pearls. It cannot be said that the commander of this order was the great commander Suvorov. Such is the story of the second Russian name passionflower.
Amazingly beautiful passionflower flowers were sung by poets, painters painted. In southern countries, the passion flower was used as a beautiful ornamental plant: thanks to its antennae, it wraps around houses, arbors and trellises. Passion flower can also be seen in city gardens and parks, and its image - in the paintings of famous masters of the XVIII-XIX centuries.
In many greenhouses of the world, passionflower is grown not only because of its flowers, but also because of the aroma of edible fruits, medicinal roots and leaves. Residents of southern countries love the fruits of the passion flower. Their flesh is juicy and aromatic, resembling ripe gooseberries.
About 30 species with edible fruits are known, but not all of them are introduced into the culture. The fruits have a variety of colors - from yellow to purple. The shape of the fruit is also the most diverse: oval, spherical or ovoid. Leaves are three- or five-lobed.
Edible passionflower is especially common. Jelly, ice cream, sorbet and various drinks are made from its sweet and sour fragrant fruits up to 9 cm long. But the most delicious orange-red fruits of the passion flower reed. They have a delicate aroma, and all kinds of sweet dishes are prepared from them. Well, a tetrahedral passionflower affects the size of its berries, which reach 25-30 cm in length and weigh 2-2.5 kg. They are served for dessert and added to fruit salads.
The edible tubers of this passionflower resemble sweet potato (sweet potato). Its roots are matched by fruits. They grow up to 4 kg and are widely used by the inhabitants of the southern countries for food. For the preparation of a tea replacement drink, the natives use the leaves of Mexican passionflower and silky passionflower.
In addition to all these advantages, the passion flower has one more thing: many of its species have medicinal properties (although it should be noted that among the passion flowers there are also poisonous ones). The red-fleshly passionflower is distinguished by its useful properties, which were known even to the Indians. Its herbaceous parts are used as a means of calming the nervous system. Passionflower is recognized by official medicine. It is part of the sedative drug Novo-Passit.
As a beautiful plant, passionflower is introduced into indoor culture. Unfortunately, so far not wide. Maybe because the plant is rather capricious, demanding, sensitive to drafts. Most often, a Brazilian blue passion flower with fragrant flowers is bred, the beauty of which can be told for a very long time. It grows quickly, reaches 5-6 m in height, but needs a support, which it could catch on with its antennae.
This species blooms, unfortunately, not always. But if it blooms, then for a long time, from July to September, although the life of one flower is short - only one day. As for the passionflower fruits, we can’t talk about them, because the plant is pollinated by insects and hummingbirds.
Passionflower is demanding on air temperature. In summer, he loves moderate heat, and in winter he is kept in a cool room, rarely watering. Passion flower grows well in soil composed of mixtures of greenhouse, turf, peat and sand (3: 2: 1: 1) land. For normal growth in summer, the plant needs organic and mineral fertilizers. Propagated by cuttings in spring and autumn and seeds. Sowing seeds is carried out in February-May. Seeds germinate slowly, so before sowing they should be soaked for a day in warm water.
Sow passionflower seeds rarely need to be sown on wet compost, sprinkled on top with a five-millimeter layer of earth. After this, it is necessary to put the sown seeds in a warm place (18-24 ° C) and be sure to ensure that the temperature does not fall below 8 ° C. To protect the plant from direct sunlight, it is closed with polyethylene until emergence.
Passion flower at home requires a lot of attention, but a beautiful plant deserves it, and the results will justify the efforts you made.
- G. Martynyuk