GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OR ORIGIN:
MINIMUM TEMPERATURE: 10 °C
IDEAL MINIMUM TEMPERATURE: 15 °C
SYNONYMS: P. adiantifolia Lawrence ex Ker-Gawl, P. adiantum Willd., P. banksii Benth, P. baueriana (Endl) Mast., P. brachystehanea (F.v. Muell) Benth., P. coccinea Banks & Sol., P. coerulescens (Seem.) Harms, P. glabra Wendl., P. samoensis Exell, P. storkii (Seem.) Drake, P. vitiensis (Seem.) Mast.
P. adiantifolia Lawrence ex Ker-Gawl, P. adiantum Willd., P. banksii Benth, P. baueriana (Endl) Mast., P. brachystehanea (F.v. Muell) Benth., P. coccinea Banks & Sol., P. coerulescens (Seem.) Harms, P. glabra Wendl., P. samoensis Exell, P. storkii (Seem.) Drake, P. vitiensis (Seem.) Mast.
ETYMOLOGY: Name attributed for the orange colour of its flowers (from Latin: aurantiacus).
Name attributed for the orange colour of its flowers (from Latin: aurantiacus).
NOTES: Chromosomes: n = 6, 2n = 18.
Chromosomes: n = 6, 2n = 18.
This passiflora has some peculiarities for which it can be said that it is unique, although it has affinities with neighbouring species such as P. cinnabarina, la P. barclayi and P. herbertiana. First of all, it is one of the few passifloras that does not come from South America; in fact, its homeland is Australia. Furthermore, the orange (or red-orange) colour of its flowers, which tend to remain semi-closed, is not very common in the genus Passiflora.
Under ideal conditions, this climber exceeds 5 metres in length, but in pots it remains limited in size, while blooming abundantly. I have seen specimens no taller than half a metre, grown in pots of 15/18 cm in diameter, completely covered with flowers.
It has thin cylindrical stems and trilobate leaves that are long and up to 10 cm wide. The three lobes are barely outlined and rounded in the apexes. The middle lobe ends at the same height as the two lateral lobes, so much so as to recall the shape of the leaves of Adiantum capillus-veneris (Maidenhead fern). This remarkable characteristic is recalled in the synonyms: P. adiantifolia, P. adiantum. The corolla is formed by large fleshy sepals of pinkish orange colour, strengthened and stiffened by a keel and by shorter, thinner, lighter coloured petals. The apex of the sepals is pointed, that of the petals is rounded. It is precisely because of this nervation that the flowers are unable to open fully, so much so that they look like buds. The crown is formed by two series of short dark orange filaments resting on the androgynophore. It bears fruit easily even in pots, producing ovoid-shaped fruits, dark purple in colour when ripe.
P. aurantia is an attractive plant and easy to grow in pots; however, it is not hardy, should be sheltered in winter and kept at a temperature above 10°C. I recommend a good universal soil mixed with a little sand. Reproduction is easy by cutting and by sowing.