Archive for July 6th, 2015

A Passion for Passiflora

There are few plants I love more than the common maypop, Passiflora incarnata. There are also few plants that I have failed with as consistently since moving to the Southwest. I think it might be our alkaline soil and water that they dislike. This spring, in what has become a yearly ritual, I ordered a plant. I tried amending the soil in that area with acidic cottonseed meal and gypsum. Then I walked away and, beyond regular watering, did nothing more, which made it all the more marvelous when I spotted the first flower.
The passionflower produces a tropical-tasting fruit in cold winter areas. Quite possibly the single best seafood dish I ever made in my life involved seared scallops on a plate coated with a slightly sweet sauce of coconut milk flavored with shallots, a little lemongrass and ginger, and passion fruit juice. The flowers are lovely. A tea made from the leaves is an excellent home remedy for insomnia, and I have read that the shoot tips can be cooked as a vegetable, although I’ve never tried it and don’t vouch for that use.
Mostly, the Maypop gladdens my heart just by existing. But if I ever get any fruit, I do plan to recreate that sauce.