Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mega-Leaf Passionflower

While at the Buenaventura Reserve in southwestern Ecuador late last month, I was pretty impressed with the huge, unblemished leaves of this plant overhanging the old road.

I first guessed that it might be part of some tree, or perhaps a seedling.

Then imagine how floored I was to take a closer look and see that the flowers hanging from under the umbrella of foliage were those of a passionflower!

Most members of  this family and genus are vines with rather proportionally-sized leaves, nothing like this plant. Not having any sort of flora for Ecuador, I relied upon Google to find the name. I took the WWJD approach to botanizing: I googled "Passiflora megafolia." Nope. Then I tried the slightly less imaginative "Passiflora macrophylla." Bingo. It turns out that one botanist tried naming it "P. gigantifolia," so I was that far off at first.

To those who might wonder: I did not collect any seeds, sorry. There were no ripe fruits in any event.

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