Foetid Passion Flower or Stinking Passion Flower (Passiflora foetida),
also known as the Wild Maracuja or Running Pop, is a creeping vine
which has an edible fruit and leaves that have a mildly rank aroma.
It is native to northern South America and the West Indies. The
stems are thin, wiry and woody, covered with sticky yellow hairs.
The leaves are three- to five-lobed and viscid-hairy. They give off
an unpleasant odour when crushed. The flowers are white to pale
cream coloured, about 5-6 cm diameter. The fruit is globose, 2-3 cm
diameter, yellowish-orange to red when ripe, and has numerous black
seeds embedded in the pulp; the fruit are eaten and the seeds
dispersed by birds.
The bracts of this plant serve as insect traps, but it is as yet
unknown whether the plant digests and gains nourishment from the
trapped insects or if it merely uses the bracts as a defensive
mechanism to protect its flowers and fruit. This is still an issue
of debate and research among carnivorous plant enthusiasts.
This passion flower tolerates arid ground, but favours wet areas. It
is known to be an invasive species in some areas.