This striking new species of passion flower was discovered during an expedition to the Amazon Forest in Mato Grosso, Brazil.
About this species
This new species of passion flower was discovered while a detailed vegetation survey of the Parque Estadual Cristalino, in Northeastern Mato Grosso, was being developed. This area is presently affected by agriculture, logging and land settlers. The results of this research are currently being used by local government agencies to develop a management plan for this protected area.
The vegetation in this part of the Amazon is very poorly known, and the survey represented a major step forward in scientific knowledge. Over 3,500 collections were made during the visit, and these are currently being identified at Kew and the University of São Paulo. These collections include at least five species that are new to science.
There are more than 500 species of passion flower, and in the area of the Parque Estadual Cristalino the following species have been found: Passiflora acuminata, P. candollei, P. foetida, P. laurifolia, P. miniata, P. misera, P. nitida, P. oerstedii, P. subpeltata, P. cf. trifasciata and P. vespertilio.
Geography & Distribution
This species is only found in the Amazon Forest of Northern Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Fruits of Passiflora cristalina
Passiflora cristalina is a scrambling vine growing up to 4 m high. It has hairless tendrils 7 to 8 cm long and a red peduncle (flower stalk). The flowers are large and showy, with a basal tube and 5 red petals. The flowers contain 5 green stamens (male parts) and 3 green stigmas (female parts). The ovary is pink. It is thought that the flowers may be pollinated by hummingbirds.
The fruits of this species are egg-shaped, juicy, and pale green with darker markings. They are edible and are sought after by animals such as monkeys.
Threats & Conservation
This species is threatened by deforestation, which is carried out to clear land for cattle farming in the region. Research into the vegetation of the area, which was carried out by Kew, is being used by local government agencies to develop a management plan for this protected area.
The fruits of this passion flower are edible, and Passiflora cristalina could also be cultivated as an ornamental.
Programa Flora Cristalino - Research-based conservation and capacity building in Mato Grosso, Brazil
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