Passiflora helleri | The Italian Collection of Maurizio Vecchia

Passiflora helleri, information, classification, temperatures. etymology of Passiflora helleri. Discover the Italian Passiflora Collection by Maurizio Vecchia.

Passiflora helleri | The Italian Collection of Maurizio Vecchia

Systematics (J. Macdougal et al., 2004)

SUBGENUS: decaloba
SECTION: decaloba


Costa Rica, Mexico and Guatemala.




P. fuscinata Mast.


Dedicated to the Austrian botanist and naturalist Karl Bartholomaeus Heller who explored Mexico and published the memories of these trips. 



The geographical origin of this little-known passionflower is in the mountains of Costa Rica and Mexico, where it lives at altitudes of up to 1500 metres. It is therefore endowed with relative hardiness: in winter it bears temperatures of around 8-10°C with some fleeting moments at lower temperatures. It could therefore be tried in the milder Italian climatic zones.

It has a lively bearing and produces abundant fragrant white flowers. It bears black fruit, creating a pleasing and singular contrast between the fruit and the flowers, which are already present at the same time in late spring.

The leaves also have an elegant shape. This is another of the innumerable variations of the typical pattern of subgenus Decaloba's bilobate leaves. In this case, two barely visible lateral lobes lie within a rounded orbicular structure. The central lobe, which in most other cases is often non-existent or barely hinted at, is more pronounced in P. helleri.

The leaf blade is shiny and deep green in colour. Two rows of dark leaf glands are arranged in a 'V' shape at the origin near the petiole.

Flowering occurs in successive waves at the ends of the growing shoots, which are rigid, hairless and with a striped surface. The flowers, about 4 cm in diameter, have very light green sepals and white petals with a soft pink tint. The corona, formed by a single series of filaments, is deep green with purple dots.

It is propagated from cuttings and reproduces by seed. To obtain viable seeds, it is necessary to pick the truly ripe fruits without being deceived by the black colour of their integument which, unlike in other species, does not signal ripeness.