Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Banana Passion Flower, Banana Poke
Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima

Family: Passifloraceae (pas-ih-flor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Passiflora (pass-iff-FLOR-uh) (Info)
Species: tripartita var. mollissima

Synonym:Passiflora mollissima

23 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Vines and Climbers

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
By simple layering
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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By Calalily
Thumbnail #1 of Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima by Calalily

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There are a total of 16 photos.
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2 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive markrs On Apr 12, 2010, markrs from San Carlos, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima is not the plant most commonly called "P. mollissima", which is actually P. tarminiana. Myles Irvine's Passiflora site (Passiflora Online) has a description of the confusion under the P. tarminiana entry.

P. tripartita var. mollissima is not the invasive species found in Hawaii and is not what you will likely get if you buy "P. mollissima" seeds or plants. P. tarminiana is relatively common in cultivation (and almost always given the incorrect name P. mollissima), whereas P. tripartita var. mollissima is much harder to find.

I've submitted a photo of the true P. tripartita var. mollissima. The petals are short relative to the very long floral tube and the flower never opens past a bell shape (it never opens flat). Hybrids are also common, but I'm told mine is typical of the true species. The flower is so different from P. tarminiana that you can't confuse the two if you've seen both.

If the petals are more than about 50% the length to the floral tube, the flower is not P. tripartita var. mollissima. To add to the confusion most photos online that are labeled P. tripartita var. mollissima are incorrectly labeled.

The other comments preceding mine belong in the entry for P. tarminiana, not P. tripartita var. mollissima.

Negative jermainiac On Jan 24, 2004, jermainiac from Seattle, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Initially introduced for ornament and fruit, P. mollissima has become one of the worst forest destroying weeds in the Hawaiian islands, covering thousands of acres of forest on the Big Island and Kaua'i.

On the path up to Kalala'u Valley lookout, this plant was everywhere. Growing into the native trees, covering the hillside. Very pretty flowers and big fruits.

Positive Pitch On Aug 25, 2003, Pitch from Port Washington, NY wrote:

Passiflora Mollisima, which in Hawai'i (Kaua'i at least) is known as Banana Polka, is invasive in Kaua'i and other tropical climates. Therefore before planting it make sure you will be able to contain the plant. Seeds can be harvested from fruit after it is yellow (when ripe). Fruit has nice, tangy taste when ripe. Water plant regularly. Very pretty flowers. Enjoy!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Alameda, California
Albany, California
San Francisco, California
San Leandro, California
Westmoreland, Tennessee

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