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What is Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)?

Passiflora incarnata

Passionflower, or Passiflora incarnata in latin, derives its name from Christian theology relating to the crucifixion of Jesus. The passionflower is an evergreen climbing vine or bush that has been used for centuries for medical and entheogenic purposes.

The passionflower originates from the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, although some species of passionflower are indigenous to the south-eastern parts of North America, and the Caribbean. During the time of the New World, botanists adventuring the Americas brought Passionflower back to Europe, and as a result, many species can also be found growing wild in warmer European regions, such as Spain and Italy.

The most striking part of the plant is the uniquely beautiful flower it produces. Although they vary species to species, they are all striking and uber trippy in appearance, with complex colour combinations of reds, purples, blues and yellows. The flowers are fairly unique in structure, and often require large bees, bats or hummingbirds to pollinate and breed. For example, the Sword-billed Hummingbird has co-evolved with certain passionflowers to have an extremely elongated beak in order to reach their nectar.

Although the flower is the most striking feature, it is the large green leaves and roots of the Passionflower that are used for their psychoactive and medicinal properties.