GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OR ORIGIN:
Guyane, Venezuela, Amazonia of Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
MINIMUM TEMPERATURE: 12 °C
IDEAL MINIMUM TEMPERATURE: 15 °C
ETYMOLOGY: From the Latin coccineus, scarlet red.
From the Latin coccineus, scarlet red.
NOTES: Chromosomes: n=9, 2n=18
Chromosomes: n=9, 2n=18
The red of P. coccinea is one of the most vivid that nature can give us. The large size of the flower enhances it and makes it even more attractive.
This passionflower is present, in a number of different forms, among the Amazonian flora of Guyana, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia.
It is a large, robust and lively tropical climber. Given its shape and size, it is quite spectacular when in bloom. A lot of space must be made available in an environment with a suitable climate, for instance in a greenhouse; it is also necessary to be patient for a few years before seeing it explode in all its beauty. Its cultivation needs care and attention, as it only flowers if all the ideal conditions are met: light, photoperiod, temperature, and the humidity of both the atmosphere and substrate can become critical factors.
Its leaves are covered with a fine rust-coloured tomentosity. They are whole, lanceolate with deeply toothed (serrated) margins. They can reach a length of about 15 cm and a width of 6 cm at their widest. Their petiole may sometimes bear a pair of glands at the base.
The buds are covered with three showy reddish and orange bracts, packed with nectar glands. The flowers have a 10-12 cm diameter corolla and are made up of intensely scarlet sepals and petals. Both have parallel margins almost up to the pointed apex which, in the sepals, is fitted with a terminal hook. They tend to fold back after flowering, but in a less pronounced and rapid way than those of P. vitifolia, which it resembles.
The corona, which is made up of three series of filaments – the outermost dark red and the others white – contrasts with the bright red of the corolla. The centre of the flower is therefore white. The scarlet androgynophore column emerges from this 'palisade' of short filaments and supports the stigmas and anthers, whose pure red mixes with the yellow of the pollen.
The fruit, with its ovoid shape and longitudinal dark green streaks that turn yellow or orange when ripe, is also very decorative. It has an excellent taste and is to be considered among the best fruits produced by passionflowers.
P. coccinea is not very hardy and it requires relatively high temperatures even in winter. They should not drop below 12°C, but 15°C is ideal. It must be grown in a pot large enough to let it grow at will, using a rich soil frequently fed with fertiliser.
It propagates easily, both from seed and from cuttings.