GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OR ORIGIN:
Puerto Rico, Dominican, Haiti.
MINIMUM TEMPERATURE: 10 °C
IDEAL MINIMUM TEMPERATURE: 12 °C
ETYMOLOGY: Popular denomination of many passion flowers that are called 'Murucuja' or 'Maracuja'.
Popular denomination of many passion flowers that are called 'Murucuja' or 'Maracuja'.
If you want a passionflower that is always loaded with flowers, then you must grow P. murucuja. You will hardly ever see it with just leaves, as it is almost always covered with masses of vibrant, curious red flowers. It is a thin, light, small climber, which branches continuously, so as to become, in a short time, a tangle of branches. The mass of leaves and flowers formed in this way create a curtain that is impenetrable to light.
It is relatively hardy but cannot be grown outdoors in climatic areas subject to frequent and prolonged winter frosts. Our peninsula, however, has resources that allow it to acclimatise, for example, in Liguria and in the south of Italy, as long as it is protected in winter. Elsewhere, it can be a beautiful pot plant, easy to grow and very satisfying.
Its leaves, with a leathery consistency and dark green colour, are bilobate and have a width (about 4 cm) greater than their length (about 1.5 cm). They are therefore positioned transversely to the petiole, as occurs in many species of passionflowers belonging to subgenus Decaloba. The internodes are short, meaning that the leaves are very numerous.
The flowers are red, with a dominant purple tinge. Their diameter of about 5 cm, renders them conspicuous against the small size of the plant. Shortly after the flower has opened, the sepals create an arc by folding backwards, while the petals remain slightly extended forward. The corona is made up of interconnected filaments so as to form a cylindrical membrane, about 1.5 cm long and red, from inside which the thin and long androgynophore protrudes. The flower's architecture, of singular elegance, suggests movement and vivacity.
P. murucuja bears fruit easily. Its fruits are spherical, dark green, with a diameter of about 1.5 cm. For this reason, it is also easy to reproduce from seeds, as long as these are used fresh. Propagation through cuttings, however, will produce plants that flower more readily.
It should be grown in humus-rich soil using pots of at least 25 cm in diameter, the size necessary to obtain spectacular specimens. It is important to arrange above them a support structure at least one metre high, with an elegant and regular shape; this will soon be covered by the passionflower's dense vegetation, ultimately creating a green sculpture studded with red gems.
P. murucuja, which is native to the Dominican Republic,
Puerto Rico and Haiti, does not suffer from any particular diseases, with the
exception of nematode attacks that, in a short time, will leave it suffering
and beyond recovery.