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Maypop Passionfruit Improvement Project
Maypop passionfruit (Passiflora incarnata) is a wonderful native plant, commonly found in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. Unlike most of its tropical cousins, its vines die back (senesce) to the ground every winter. It is most noted for its beautiful and beautifully scented flowers, and for its delicious fruit, but it is also commonly used as an ingredient in herbal tea or as an herbal supplement. It is widely believed effective as a medicine against anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Few people know that its leaves are also edible, and have a pleasant enough taste and texture for use in salads or cooked.
This project aims to identify and/or develop unique clones of maypop exceptionally suited for any of the uses listed above. Through a broad-based collaboration with growers, breeders, and herbalists, we seek to find maypops that are particularly productive of large, tasty, early-ripening fruit, or particularly tasty, tender leaves, or particularly potent herbal medicine. There's already a great diversity of maypops in existence, but very few named varieties/clones are available. This project will try to change that.
Volunteers will be asked to grow maypops from seed in search of new and interesting individual plants. Roots or shoots from plants of interest will ultimately be brought together for side-by-side comparison and possibly future breeding.