Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Yellow Passionflower - Passiflora lutea   L.
Members of Passiflora with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Violales » Family Passifloraceae
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DistributionEssentially statewide, though likely absent from the northern Mountains. Of spotty occurrence in parts of the eastern and southern Coastal Plain, though likely present in all such counties and frequent on the Outer Banks and barrier islands.

This is a Southern species, ranging north to southern PA and southeastern KS, south to central FL and central TX.
AbundanceFairly common to frequent across the state, common in some areas. It seems to be very rare to absent in the northern Mountains, and infrequent in parts of the southern and lower Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis is a much more woodland-based species than is P. incarnata in the state. It grows in moist to mesic hardwood forests, such as bottomlands, rich to mesic forested slopes, and in maritime forests. It often occurs in light gaps or in small openings, and at times along wooded margins and thickets.
PhenologyBlooms from June to September, and fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is a moderately slender, herbaceous vine that climbs to about 9-10 feet high. The alternate leaves are distinctive, containing 3 rounded lobes, but the two sinuses reach only about 1/3rd of the way to the petiole; the leaf margin is entire. The medium-sized flowers grow in leaf axils on long stalks; they are about 1-1.5 inches across, with a similar structure to that of P. incarnata. However, the petals are greenish-white to light greenish-yellow, and the many slender corona segments are the same greenish-white color. The fleshy fruits are rounded, purple, but only about 1/2-inch across, not nearly as obvious as those of P. incarnata. This is a delightful wildflower of forest interiors, quite striking in its own right, though highly overshadowed by the flowers of the other passionflower.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Little Passionflower, Yellow Passion-vine
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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US Status
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Photo Gallery
Betty Anderson2004-08-11. William B. Umstead State Park WakePhoto_natural
Randy Newman2003-06-25. Fort Macon State Park CarteretBIPhoto_natural
Randy Newman2003-06-25. Fort Macon State Park
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