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

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