Passiflora parritae. Firstly, many thanks to Ron Boender, Greg Cunningham, David O. Gray, Eric Hunt & Elizabeth Waterman for their kindness in letting me use their photos of Passiflora parritae. The vine is growing up Clethra suaveolens, a tree from Mexico in Strybing Arboretum California. One of the rarest passion flowers. Not in my collection. A native of Colombia in the Department of Tolima. Type originally collected by Mr Parra in 1880 and named Tacsonia parritae in 1882. It is a Tacsonia with the typical long floral tube.
This Passiflora parritae plant was grown from seed collected above 2000 metres in the Department of Caldas, Municipio of Pensilvania, by students of the late Professor Linda Escobar. It was the only clone of this species in captivity & it was thought to be extinct in the wild as the mother plant has been cut down. In 2002 however Giselher Behnken brought more clones into cultivation that he had found in Colombia. It is hoped that they will be shared worldwide to wherever this beautiful species will thrive.
The leaves are similar to P. antioquiensis & it is equally fussy re its growing conditions. It likes high humidity & full sun but too much heat & it will die. It will tolerate a light frost. It produces pollen & flowers freely in late Summer & Autumn. Previous attempts at tissue culture have failed, but Strybing has managed to take cuttings. It is hoped that its reluctance to self pollinate may be overcome in the laboratory. In 2008 Carlos Rendon created a fantastic hybrid P. 'Mission Dolores' (Passiflora parritae x Passiflora antioquiensis). It has a large reddish/pink flower on very long peduncles, It is less temperamental than either parent and more vigorous.
It is likely that in the wild P.
parritae's pollinator is an extraordinary hummingbird, E. ensifera.
Sadly it is very likely that global warming has caused a shift in the population
of E. ensifera to higher altitudes leaving the massive parritae flowers
unpollinated in an evolutionary dead end. It is generally accepted as a fatal
error for both plant & pollinator to become exclusively dependent on each other,
in this case it appears to be P. parritae that has made the error &
which can feed at many flowers is not at risk.