Riverside Hybrids

 

Montaverde Rain Forest

Image © 2004 Martin Murray


 

  Restrictions

In UK there are as far as I know no restrictions on the import of Passiflora seed or cuttings. Our winters are so severe that none are likely to become invasive. We can also export any Passiflora seed or cuttings within Europe. USA Customs however will probably destroy all imported plant material, whether posted or on you, if they find it. Whatever country you are in, be very careful about what you collect, import & then grow. Even if you grow a plant in a pot, if the fruit are attractive to birds or small mammals they may eat them & disperse seed elsewhere. I cannot overemphasize the importance of being responsible with regard to this. Passiflora are used to a very competitive environment, if they find somewhere less competitive they can cause massive problems even choking local flora. Whatever country you are in there will be laws against collecting, particularly in protected areas. In UK for example, to quote:-

  The Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981

''All wild plants are protected against unauthorised uprooting under Section 13 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.Even non-vascular plants, which have no roots, are protected, because uprooting is defined as removal from the site. Plants listed on Schedule 8 of the Act enjoy special protection against picking, uprooting, destruction and sale.The Schedule is reviewed every five years, but currently it contains 107 vascular plants, 33 bryophytes, 26 lichens and 2 stoneworts.These include vascular plants, mosses, liverworts and hornworts, lichens and charophytes (stoneworts).''

  Rules and regs

If you do find a plant of interest, your first step should always be to make a note of the exact location & take pictures of the general area, foliage, flowers & fruit if any without disturbing the habitat. It is my view that most of us should just leave it at that. If it's a common plant you don't need to collect it. If it's rare, unless you hear the proverbial bulldozer coming over the hill, it's probably best left alone.  Some countries may have far less restrictions than UK but don't just assume you can pull up plants, take cuttings or even just a few ripe fruit. Remember that there are professional plant thieves & to local wardens, police or Customs you will appear no different. Each country also has its own rules & lists of what plant species may or may not be imported & exported. These may be formulated with regard to rarity or concerns re soil, insects, disease or invasive species. If we do not exercise restraint, more & more countries will create 'white lists' which define what can be imported & exported rather than what cannot. For example Hawaii has big problems both with Passiflora tarminiana (similar to P. tripartita var. mollissima) & P. suberosa & New Zealand will not even allow P. caerulea to be imported. 

  Collecting

Assuming it is OK to collect something, eg a common Passiflora & you have the landowner's permission, how do you go about it? There are 2 sorts of collecting, to take samples for drying out for a herbarium (easy) or to try to take live material to grow the plant elsewhere (harder). For live material, to do least damage collect fruit only & always leave plenty. Pick it from the ground as if it's still attached it will not be ripe unless it detaches with just a gentle pull or shake. That said, animals are pretty quick to eat ripe fruit so sometimes you have to collect it unripe. Pull it off & resist the temptation to open it. Instead put in a ziplock bag to aid ripening. Possibly add a bit of ripe banana peel which will give off ethylene & further promote ripening. For cuttings take several of a few feet if possible & curl them up in a plastic self seal bag say 9'' x 14''. If the stems become hollow quickly a few shorter cuttings would be better. It is vital to put a little water in the bag & give it a good shake once sealed. Too much & the cuttings will rot. Too little & they will dry out. Get it just right & they will last up to a fortnight as the high humidity allows only a little transpiration. Give them a little gentle light only till you unpack them. Young seedlings will also keep well with some soil left round the root wrapped in damp tissue paper, or a smaller bag, within the bag. If you want to post plants pack them properly. See Ian Webb's site for a step by step guide.