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Maypop Passionfruit Improvement Project

The purpose of this project is to collaboratively identify and develop more useful varieties of maypop passionfruit (Passiflora incarnata), a Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern US native perennial, for use as a fruit, vegetable, and herbal medicine.

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.

Researcher background
See bio in "About" section.
Are you seeking volunteer growers or other types of volunteers?
Yes, seeking volunteer growers
How many volunteers do you need?
What will you ask volunteers to do?
Volunteers will be asked to grow maypop passionfruit from seed in a situation conducive to their long-term growth (Zone 6 or warmer, planted in a place where they can climb, either a trellis, a building, or trees). Ideally each volunteer will be able to grow 10 or more plants. This is a long-term project, so volunteers who anticipate being able to observe and evaluate their maypop seedlings for at least five years are most welcome. Volunteers are asked to purchase at least one packet of maypop seeds from the Experimental Farm Network seed store (, to cover packaging, postage, and production costs.
Other requirements of volunteers?
Zone 6 or warmer, particularly in the eastern US, midwestern US, and south-central US.
Is this a multi-year project?
Can volunteers expect to be able to keep some germplasm (seeds, bulbs, cuttings, spores, etc) at the close of the project?
Yes, of course
Researcher Location

United States

Project Updates

Passiflora incarnata flowering in Montreal, QC

project update by
Monday, July 26, 2021 - 06:06

This is my first flower, it smelled and looked great, unfortunately it was promply eaten by a squirrel. Fortunately there are still plenty of buds to come, so I'll try to protect them somehow.

The vine is about a meter high, growing on a trellis, it just started sending another shoot from the base. I planted 5 seeds in march with no special treatment, I got 4 plants out of them. They are all still alive, but one has barely grown (it got completely shaded by some kale) and two others are growing in a friends garden and I've yet to see them. Though I've been told they are not flowering yet.

The plant this flower is from is growing in full sun on a terrace in Montréal Quebec (between zone 5 and 6) in a 1 cubic foot large container which it shares with a cucumber and some dill. It took a while to get going but in july it's height almost tripled.

probably the furthest north here....

project update by
Sunday, December 20, 2020 - 04:18

Hey yall I'm in Bangor Maine, its a zone 5 here, still in an apartment so I cant try all that I want to with this guy but I do germinate a passionflower incense variety which is from maypop. Once I get some land and am able to amend my soils properly I have some ideas to allow for a deeper root system and hopefully assist in making these more cold hardy through further generations.

Would love to hear any updates from zone 6 participants!

Maypop thicket

project update by
Saturday, August 1, 2020 - 06:50

I've been blessed with more maypop vines than I could have hoped for.
These are all volunteers and are of the wild variety. I hope to harvest
many fruits, and already have at least two that are approaching 2.5 inches
in diameter.


project update by
Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 04:02

I have access to some maypops that are on their 3rd season from north Alabama. Are the seeds for purchase from the EFN from this project? They are currently out of stock.

Maypop Seeds

project update by
Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 12:51

I'm just joining this project in planning for the spring gardens but I don't see any seeds available. Do you anticipate having them available in the next season? I'm already growing Passiflora incarnata (PA native).

Germination troubleshoot

project update by
Friday, June 14, 2019 - 01:08

Hey plant friends, I've been trying to germinate passionflower seed for the first time this season and have not been very successful. I will explain things I've tried and maybe someone who has been successful can help me update my formula/share some tips. I am very excited to get to know this plant just can't seem to get it to germinate. I first tried passionfloria caerulea on 3/15 planting 9 in 4 in pots after soaking for 24 hr in water..after a month no sprouts. I then planted passionflora incarnata. I got these seeds from strictly medicinal seeds. I planted 14 seeds(4/15), some in 4 in pots and some in a smaller 6 pack. I had one thing sprout in the 6 pack but doesn't seem to be passionfloria incarnata. The leaves are single lobed and I'm unsure if it is a vine or not. I'm not sure if a weed seed fell into my start packs or what. It is not a weed I recognize. I am letting it grow out of curiosity. I then am on my third run of tries. This time I am trying many different methods. Starting 5/21, I soaked some seeds for 24 hrs, 48 hrs and one week and now planted out in 4in pots. No sprouts..yet. I am waiting for some more seeds from EFN for this project and would be curious how others would go about germination or any advice. I have a greenhouse these starts are in and I'm in Olympia wa zone 8! Thank you!