AppearanceThe stems can be smooth or pubescent; they are long and trailing, possessing many tendrils. Leaves are alternate and palmately 3-lobed and occasionally 5-lobed, measuring 6–15 centimetres . 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 stamens. The large flower is typically arranged in a ring above the petals and sepals. They are pollinated by insects such as bumblebees and carpenter bees, and are self-sterile. The flower normally blooms in July.
The fleshy fruit, also referred to as 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. As with other passifloras, it is the larval food of a number of butterfly species, including the zebra longwing and Gulf fritillary. In many cases its fruit is very popular with wildlife. The egg-shaped green fruits 'may pop' when stepped on. This phenomenon gives the ''P. incarnata'' its common name.
The maypop occurs in thickets, disturbed areas, near riverbanks, and near unmowed pastures, roadsides, and railroads. It thrives in areas with lots of available sunlight. It is not found in shady areas beneath a forest canopy.
The Cherokee in the Tennessee area called it '; the Ocoee River and valley are named after this plant, which is the Tennessee state wildflower. This, and other passionflowers are the exclusive larval host plants for the Gulf fritillary and non-exclusive for the variegated fritillary butterflies.
UsesHistorically, the plant has been used as an herbal medicine in the belief it may treat anxiety, insomnia, or hypertension. Methanol extractions from the leaves has been reported to be an effective antitussive in mice. Passionflower is included in the national pharmacopeias of France, Germany, and Switzerland, and is also monographed in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia and the British Herbal Compendium, the ESCOP monographs, the Community Herbal Monographs of the EMA, the German Standard Licences, the German Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia, the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, and the Pharmacopeia of Egypt. The botanical drugs included in the current European and British Pharmacopoeias are the dried aerial parts of the plant. In North America and South America, tea made from the roots is used as a tonic. In Australia, it is commonly believed to be a sedative and anxiolytic.
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