Down at the bottom of my garden the passionflower is still romping away up the dead tree stump as if it was participating in a competition in growing the most per week. I have started to snip away some of the longest shoots because I am afraid they will simply just hop over to other plants in my garden. I never anticipated the passionflower being this successful – certainly not in year two, what will it look like next year?!
Last year I had TWO flowers, this year I must have had several hundred so far and there are still lots of flower buds so if the autumn is nice to us and keep the frost away I should have flowers for perhaps 6-8 weeks more.
The flowers on Passiflora caerulea are so intricate, I never get tired of looking at them....
....but it is when I get them blown up on my computer I really can see all the details in full.
Look at those colours!
A bit alien, or what?
Isn’t it amazing?
OK, so normally passionflowers are grown for their amazingly sweet and tasty fruit, but growing passionflowers outdoors in Britain mean you are quite limited in which types to grow, most won’t survive the winter. Passiflora caerulea is quite hardy and is also evergreen in Britain, the downside is that the fruit, although not poisonous, is not very tasty – or so I have read.
Funnily enough, Sue at Green Lane Allotments had a post last week about her passionflower, and her dilemma about whether to taste her passionflower fruit or not. I have had the same dilemma and wondered whether I should have a go or not. Today I made my decision and decided to write about it here. When I sat down to write tonight I checked up on Sue’s blog to see if she had written more about her passionflower tasting - and she had, she wrote today that she had decided not to take the plunge.
But earlier today I daringly picked one fruit and took it to my table. It was carefully inspected to see that is was whole and without any entrance for caterpillars or any other creepy crawlies, I really didn’t fancy any nasty surprises when cutting into it!
And this is what it looked like inside, the seeds have a lovely, deep red colour in a red juice. So I decided to taste them! I ate 3 seeds and at first they tasted a bit sweet from the juice, but when I chewed them they tasted very little at all. Quite disappointing but also as expected. You normally eat just the seeds and pulp on passionflower fruit, but in the name of science I decided to have a little taste of the casing too. I have never eaten polystyrene before but I can imagine that’s what it would taste like, after soaking in a bit of water so it got soft. I won’t repeat that bit, but I won’t say the seeds were yuck or bad or anything like that, just very disappointing when I know what the passionflower fruit I buy from my supermarket taste like. From now on I will enjoy the flowers and fruits while they are hanging on the tree and throw them in the compost bin when they have fallen off.
As an apropos to monster plants and growing like mad, my sunflowers are still flowering like crazy so I got plenty to cut and put in vases. The sunflowers makes me smile when I go out in the garden, it’s something about those bright yellow flowers that cheers me up.
Have you got any monster plants in your garden? I would love to hear about it :-)
Oh, by the way, it’s 8 hours since I tasted the seeds and I still feel fine, I think I can agree with those saying that Passiflora caerulea is definitely edible, though perhaps rather disappointing in taste. Until next time, take care.