Love in a mist: Secrets Revealed!!!!

“After a long silence kept …. Now I am here to Speak to you all about my secretes…Everybody around the world consider me a weed. But actually I am most neglected one among the vines. I am Passiflora foetida.  My name came from Latium, Italy .Passiflora means passion flower and foetida mean ‘stinking’. So in short you can call me a stinking passion vine or Love in a mist due to the mist-like appearance on me and love for my host butterflies. In Hindi my name is “Jhumak lata” due to having earrings like flower”

Passiflora
Passiflora foetida

About me

I don’t know you heard about me or not?? In the busy lifestyle, no one is interested in plants except some conservationist and botanist…but god had  made so many of beautiful creatures on earth with a reason although I am neglected but still  created with some reason that are hidden yet . I used to write about me in my secrets diaries. But enough is enough now………after along years of silence I had chosen science reporter to with I am revealing my secretes. Starting from first chapter of diary that is on me and only about me, no one else.  Below enlisted qualities of mine, would definitely help you all in realizing my importance.

I am having a versatile physical and ecological role with a thin woody, wiry stem and many sticky yellow hairs. My heart shaped leaves (4-5 lobed) arranged in an alternate manner with viscid hairs. Belonging to the vines family I used to climb with the help of the axillary tendrils arising from stem toward a shaded part of mine. I own a flower of white and lilac color blossoming around the year but not at evening and night hours. My fruit is a colorful berry, caged in the coat (bracts). Brazil is my native place from where I belong. But I got bored over there and took a flight from Brazil to Southeast Asia and now living here happily from about more than 30 years. With no umbrella and raincoat, I also use to live on Hawaii Islands where sea level is about 500m and rainfall ranges from 750 to 3000 mm. You can also find me on highly disturbed areas, roadside, wastelands, agriculture fields, plantation areas and rough pastoral lands. Some potboiler people call me “love in the mist” due to the few veils of mist present on bracts which are sticky in nature and scientifically called as oozotes.  I am belonging to a large family (Passifloraceae) having about 12 genera and 600 species. All are like me are the climber vine found in the warmer region of the world.

As a useful creature

Second chapter of my diary!!!!!God blessed  me with an ossum and marvellous fruits, Contains pulp of the white-blush color sweet in taste and flavored also. Sometimes resemble like green small grapes, small Nagpur oranges and finally to cheery red. Contains some alkaloids, phenols, cyanogenic compounds and about 10 flavanoids identified by scientific researchers having antispasmodic, sedative, anxiolytic (allaying anxiety) properties. Happy to heard this ….yippee!!! I am getting attention now. My leaves contain chemicals having high medicinal importance, useful in treatment of asthma. Its paste can be applied on the head for headache and giddiness. As in Brazil my native place, I was commonly used among native tribes and playing important role in there herbal healings techniques.

I am Non-vegetarian

Most of the birds used to feed on my fruits and helps in seed dispersal mechanism too. But at the same time many insects also attacks me, which I don’t like …therefore, I have to protect my fruits from the different predator with lacy bracts. For protecting fruits I am having splendid defensive mechanism for trapping insects. Just because of this, some scientist and ecologists named me as insect eaters or proto carnivorous.

Tawnycoster
Tawnycoster (Acraea violae)

“Pasiflora foetida and some butterflies are dependent on each other. As plant provides a place for laying eggs and butterflies act as source of nutrition for plant when stick to the glue like sustances secreated by plants”

I am a clever plant:

I am also act as good host, since many of the insects and butterflies attracted toward me. Most commonly attracted insects are the Heliconiine butterflies belonging to family Nymphalidae. The insect preferably chose my family (Passifloraceae) for developing larvae. Among them, Passion vine butterfly, (Agraulis vanilla) abundantly present on the Hawaii Island, feed on the leaf of mine. The other species of butterflies which are attacking me are Tawnycoster (Acraea violae), Tiger Longwing (Heliconiu hecale), Leopard lacewing(Cethosia cyane) Glasswing butterfly (Acraea andromacha) widespread in South East Asia, Central and South America. Among all butterflies visiting me, Leopard lacewing is the most common one. Its wing span is of 80 mm. The mother butterfly used to lay eggs on underside of leaf, young stems and on tendrils. The color of the egg is yellow, barrel shaped .After 5-6 days of egg lying, the young caterpillar of the butterflies hatches. The young ones look very small having length of 2mm of red and yellow color in band like pattern. But after some times it’s unbearable for me to handle too many butterflies for laying eggs. So, I use a trick to fool these host butterflies. I start secreting small coloured lumps of yellowish color that resembles butterfly eggs and fools butterflies that I had already enough eggs and I can’t handle anymore.

That’s all about me. My life start from a roadside or a wasteland, but I am not the unwanted plant of any use. After knowing my secretes, I think, now you are familiar with who am I? and this brief introduction of mine would help you to understand once you see me with my host butterflies sticking to me while walking to unexplored trail and I am just watching you all silently……

Author: NOT Passiflora foetida :p

By Pooja Fulwadhani

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