Riverside Hybrids

Passiflora colinvauxii flower | Passiflora colinvauxii flower top view | Passiflora colinvauxii close up | Bee pollinating Passiflora colinvauxii | Passiflora colinvauxii foliage variations | Passiflora aff colinvauxii comparison

Passiflora colinvauxii 


Passiflora colinvauxii
Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Min 4°C 40°F or lower

Passiflora colinvauxii, pronounced 'colinvo-ii', is named after the well known ecologist & author Dr Paul Colinvaux of the Marine Biological Laboratory, who found it in flower in the Galapagos Islands in 1966. In October 2000 I contacted him using a Google search. As a result he kindly wrote a history about the discovery & naming of this plant. This plant is under threat in its natural habitat & is one of 45 Passiflora listed in The 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. It is listed as rare.

Further, on Sunday 23rd September 2001 I had the privilege of a visit from Paul & his wife LLewellya Hillis, an expert on Halimeda algae found on coral reefs, while they were on holiday together in UK. He had not seen 'his' plant since 1966 and was astonished to find it not just surviving but growing vigorously & flowering freely in UK in late September. A very enjoyable day.

P. colinvauxii  is found in the Scalesia (sunflower tree) Zone of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands which are off Ecuador exactly on the Equator. This zone has an elevation from 200 to 400 meters (660-1311 feet) and contains the richest soil of any zone on the island. For this reason it has been used heavily for agriculture and little of this area is left. During the dry season this zone is bathed in a mist known as garúa. The mist helps to support the diverse plant life of the area, mosses, ferns, shrubs and herbs. The Scalesia zone is the first zone that has epiphytic plants; these are plants that live on trees instead of the ground. Nutrients come from the air and mist, epiphytes are not parasitic. (Information from Stacey Bealmear's Flora of the Galápagos research project.)

P. colinvauxii & the very similar P. aff colinvauxii probably from Ecuador both flower readily over the summer months in UK. Dr Paul Colinvaux advised that Passiflora colinvauxii only flowers for a certain period on the Galapagos, so although day length is constant the varying light levels in the different seasons or other variables may trigger flowering. 

It is attractive to bees in UK, & is pollinated by Xylocopa darwini Cockerell in the Galapagos.