Passion Flower



Passion Flower(tokeisoo)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: All Summer
***** Category: Plant


Passion Flower, "Clock Flower" tokeisoo 時計草 (とけいそう)
..... boronkazura ボロン葛 (ぼろんかずら)
Maypop, Passiflora incarnata


Maypop (Passiflora incarnata), also known as Purple passionflower, is a fast growing perennial vine with climbing or trailing stems. A member of the passionflower genus Passiflora, the Maypop has large, intricate flowers with prominent styles and stamens. One of the hardiest species of passionflower, it is a common wildflower in the southern United States.

The stems can be smooth or pubescent; they are long and trailing, possessing many tendrils. Leaves are alternate and palmately 3-lobed, measuring from 6-15 cm. They have two characteristic glands at the base of the blade on the petiole. Flowers have five bluish-white petals. They exhibit a white and purple corona, a structure of fine appendages between the petals and corolla. The large flower is typically arranged in a ring above the petals and sepals. They are pollinated by insects such as bumblebees, and are self-sterile.

The fleshy fruit, also in itself called a Maypop, is an oval yellowish berry about the size of a hen egg; it is green at first, but then becomes orange as it matures. In this species, the yellow mucilage around the seeds of the fruit is sweet and edible, however it is quite seedy and mostly benefits wildlife. As with other passifloras, it is the larval food of a number of butterfly species.

Traditionally, the fresh or dried whole plant has been used as a herbal medicine to treat nervous anxiety and insomnia. The dried, ground herb is frequently used in Europe by drinking a teaspoon of it in tea. A sedative chewing gum has even been produced.

The Maypop occurs in thickets, disturbed areas, unmowed pastures, roadsides and railroads. It thrives in areas with lots of available sunlight. In areas of growing forest, they will disappear as the sun is blotted out by growing trees.

Other common names include Wild apricot and May apple.

© Wikipedia


© Linda Inoki / Japan Times
July 2007

Oh, cut me reeds to blow upon,
Or gather me a star,
But leave the sultry passion-flowers
Growing where they are

I fear their sombre yellow deeps,
Their whirling fringe of black,
And he who gives a passion-flower
Always asks it back.

By Grace Hazard Conkling (1878-1958)

In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadors discovered some extraordinary New World flowers, which struck them as vivid symbols of their religion. The outer circle of petals and sepals they saw representing 10 of Christ's early disciples. The feathery inner circle to them symbolized the multitude of Christians; while the five anthers and three styles symbolized the five wounds and three nails that Christ suffered on the cross.

Moreover, when Jesuit priests noticed native Indians eating the small yellow or purple egg-shaped fruit, they read it as a sign that they were thirsting for the Christian religion. So the Spanish named this plant passiflora, meaning "passion flower," after the passionate sacrifice of Christ.

Since then, about 500 species of the genus Passiflora have been found, mostly climbers from the warmer zones of the Americas with red, yellow, green, white or purple flowers. Some tropical species are cultivated for their tasty fruit (P. edulis and P. quadrangularis).

But for flowers it is hard to beat P. incarnata, pictured above. This is romping away in my garden, and it is delightful to find fresh blooms opening on a summer's morning, then fading at the end of the day. Incidentally, the Japanese name means "clock-flower," for its resemblance to the face of a clock.

Worldwide use


Madia glomerata, madia sativa.

The passion flower has served as a floral tribute to the passion of Christ for centuries, and is always a favorite flower on traditional gravestones in Ireland. The passionflower is pretty well rooted in Irish culture. The so-called Passion Flower Hornpipe is very popular among the Irish traditional musicians. I have seen even passionflower cross tatoos!

Anatoly Kudryavitsky

wasp's job done -
a golden rain of pollen
from passionflowers

by Anatoly Kudryavitsky
(from 'Morning at Mount Ring', DOGHOUSE Books, 2007)

Things found on the way

Poem by Margaret Fuller

Where the passion flower grows
Poem by Charles M. Moore

Passion Flower and Poetry


nangoku no toki o kizamishi tokeisoo

it keeps the time
of the Southern countries -
the passion flower

Minami Fuuko 南風子 さん

© livedoor ハイクブログ

Tr. Gabi Greve


Just a little peek
the underside
of passion flower

© vincent tripi
The Heron's Nest, Volume VII, Number 3: September, 2005

Related words



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