This species has sometimes been confused with Passiflora suberosa L.[
]. The species differ in leaf shape, and particularly in their fruits - in Passiflora gracilis they are red to purple and around 25mm in diameter whilst in Passiflora suberosa they are bluish-black and only around 12mm in diameter[
Cieca gracilis (J.Jacq. ex Link) M.Roem.
Passiflora pediculata Mast.
Passiflora gracilis is an annual, climbing plant with very slender, branched stems that can grow 2 metres or more long[
]. The stems scramble over the ground, climbing into nearby vegetation where it supports itself by means of tendrils.
The fruit is said to be edible. The plant is often grown as an ornamental in gardens, valued for its abundant flowering and masses of bright scarlet fruits[
S. America - Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela; C. America - Nicaragua to southern Mexico
Mesic or cloud forests, thickets, edges of disturbed or cultivated areas[
Passiflora gracilis is the only truly annual species in the genus, being found mainly at low to moderate elevations in Mesoamerica, where it can be found up to 2,300 metres[
]. It can be cultivated in cooler climes, succeeding even in warm temperate areas where the growing season is long enough to mature the fruit.
Grows best in a position that is sheltered at least from the hottest sun of the day, growing in nature in the dappled shade of other plants[
]. It prefers a well-drained soil on the light side, succeeding in conditions of low fertility but not growing well in heavy clays[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 7.5[
Plants usually self-sow, even in cultivation in frost-free climates. In cooler areas it is important to save seed from the earlier ripening fruits and store them in a frost-free place before resowing when the warm season returns[
]. The pulp surrounding the seeds is eaten. The red to orange-red, ellipsoid fruit is about 30 - 40mm long and 20 - 25mm wide[
The leaves and roots of some, if not all, members of this genus contain a substance called 'passiflorina' which has similaritiesr to morphine and is an effective tranquilizer[
]. We have no specific information for this species but many species are used in herbal infusions to calm the nerves and help bring about a restful sleep[
The leaves of many species are also considered to be anthelmintic, antihysteric and diaphoretic. They are used in Brazil to combat intermittent fevers, cutaneous inflammations, and erysipelas[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe along with the pulp which will help break down the seed coat and speed up germination[
]. Stored seed should be soaked for 24 hours in warm water and germination time can be reduced if the seed is then mixed with the juice of a fresh passion fruit (of any species)[
]. Even so, it can take 12 months for stored seed to germinate[
]. Place the seed tray in a shady position, maintaining a temperature around 19 - 24°c[
]. Prick the seedlings out into individual containers as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out when large enough[