Passiflora boenderi | The Italian Collection of Maurizio Vecchia

Passiflora boenderi, information, classification, temperatures. etymology of Passiflora boenderi. Discover the Italian Passiflora Collection by Maurizio Vecchia.

Passiflora boenderi | The Italian Collection of Maurizio Vecchia

Systematics (J. Macdougal et al., 2004)

SUBGENUS: decaloba
SECTION: decaloba


 Costa Rica.  




Dedicated to Ron Boender, founder of the Passiflora Society International and discoverer of this species. 



It is a recently introduced Costa Rican species, registered by John MacDougal, botanist of the 'Missouri Botanical Gardens'.

It is appreciated for the extraordinary beauty of the bilobate leaves with their beautiful intense green colour, furrowed by two yellow lines running along the external veins, and flanked by point-like leaf glands of the same colour. The striking green-yellow contrast is accentuated by the slight brilliance of the leaf blade. The aesthetic effect, produced by the precision with which these yellow bands have been drawn and the care with which they are placed at a regular distance and in line, truly draws the eye. The leaf's geometry is also interesting. The pointed lobes are deep and perfect, almost cut out within an ellipse from which a wedge has been removed at one end. The symmetry seems deliberate and sought. The leaves, up to 10 cm long, grow in pairs, doubling the overall scenography.

We have wondered what the function of these leaves are, dotted with yellow with surprising regularity and equipped with two long stripes. It is likely that they mimic the presence of butterfly eggs and two caterpillars in order to discourage the deposition of new ones by other insects. Leaf glands of this type are present in numerous species belonging to the subgenus Decaloba. An effective trick of nature!

The flowers, reduced to miniatures, have sepals and petals of light green, almost white, completely retroflexed and surmounted by a corona formed by 2 series of filaments, yellow at the end, and green and brown in the centre.  P. boenderi has used all its energy to produce beautiful leaves while neglecting the insignificant and almost invisible flowers, which reach barely 1 cm in diameter.

This plant is easy to grow. It manages to grow rapidly, showing off its beautiful leaves, and bloom even in a small pot of 10 cm diameter. If given space and a larger pot, it knows how to create thick curtains of leaves, since its stiff and thin stems, with an angled cross-section, insert themselves everywhere and cling to any support, arranging themselves in order to make the most of the light. The embroidery of leaves, repeated and multiplied, then becomes a spectacle in itself.

Due to its geographical origin, it lacks hardiness for the Po Valley climate. In winter, it is advisable not to subject it to temperatures below 10°C, although it can withstand a few degrees lower for short periods. It must be grown in rich soil, in a greenhouse or indoors, in a well-lit position. It is a plant that has yet to be exploited. It deserves to be more widely known, not just for its aesthetic features but also for its adaptation to small spaces and possible use as an unusual hanging plant. It reproduces from seed and multiplies from cuttings.