Maypop

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Passiflora incarnata Linnaeus 

The Passionflower Family of three hundred and fifty species is ex- 
clusively American, and nearly all the species are inhabitants of the 
tropics. Only a few are found in the United States and of these the 
maypop is hardy as far north as Virginia and even farther northward. 
It is a vigorous vine, often growing thirty feet in length, with many 
tendrils and rich green leaves. The peculiarly scented flowers attract 
universal attention by their complicated structure and coloring. The 
various organs of the flower suggested to the devout Spaniards 
the objects associated with the passion of our Lord, and the Latin 
name was given in consequence. The fruit is as large as a hen's egg 
and pale yellow. Its smooth rind is very tough, and the many and 
large seeds are surrounded by a juicy sweet pulp, which is eaten by 
children. Some of the tropical passionflowers are highly esteemed 
for their edible fruits of superior flavor. The common name of the 
plant refers to the loud popping noise that it makes when squeezed 
until it bursts. Tennessee has adopted it as the State flower. 

The maypop grows from Florida to Texas and northward to 
Virginia, southern Indiana, and Missouri. It is easily cultivated, but 
is not safe to introduce into small gardens, because of its spreading 
tendencies. 

The sketch was made from specimens secured near Savannah, 
Georgia.

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