GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OR ORIGIN:
Southern center of Peru to Bolivia.
MINIMUM TEMPERATURE: 5 °C
IDEAL MINIMUM TEMPERATURE: 10 °C
SYNONYMS: P. thaumasiantha Harms
P. thaumasiantha Harms
ETYMOLOGY: From the leaves divided into three separate lobes (Lat. sectus, separated, divided).
From the leaves divided into three separate lobes (Lat. sectus, separated, divided).
The large, white flowers of this passionflower, rich in nectar, open at night, like those of some bindweeds and cacti. They are a delicacy for nocturnal butterflies and other insects, as well as for small bats that, only in the dark, roam in search of food in the Andean forests (2400-2800 m above sea level in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia). In this way, they carry the pollen from flower to flower, promoting fruiting.
The plant is robust and grows quickly. The stems and leaves are covered with a thick hairy down. The leaves have three large separate lobes in which the central one often covers the base of the lateral ones. The leaves measure 9 cm in length and 12 cm in width, with a finely serrated margin.
The flower has a diameter of about 10 cm. It is composed of large hooked sepals, green on the underside and white on the upper side, and small, narrow petals, white on both sides. The centre of the flower is green as if to indicate to nocturnal insects the target in which to find the nectar. A small corona of short white filaments separates the corolla from the centre of the flower itself.
The fruits are spherical, 5 cm in diameter.
This plant is relatively easy to grow. Good results are obtained if you do not overdo summer watering. It withstands minimum winter temperatures of about 5°C, so one could try to acclimatise it in the citrus-growing areas. In a pot, however, it is a beautiful climber with generous flowering.
Cuttings root easily and, unlike reproduction by seed, produce plants that are ready to flower even when still small in size.