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Passion flowers (Passiflora) are popular indoor and ornamental plants in this country. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. The striking exotic, magnificent flowers are particularly attractive. The Passiflora is perennial and is usually grown as a climbing plant. There are over 530 different species worldwide. Breeding has resulted in numerous other hybrid varieties. However, the question often arises as to whether the passion flower and its fruits contain toxic components? More on that below.

Passion flower poisonous or not?

So far there have been contradictory statements about the toxicity of the passion flower. This plant is subdivided into four subspecies, whereby the subgenus Decaloba with its 220 representatives is mildly to severely poisonous. In addition, other Passiflora species also contain a more or less high proportion of hydrocyanic acid. The concentration is different. Mainly the toxin is in

  • the shoots
  • leaves and
  • contain unripe fruit.

The most common are the blue (Passiflora caerulea) and flesh-colored (Passiflora incarnata) passionflowers. Investigations here showed that there are no toxic substances in the plant parts and fruits of the Blue Passiflora. On the other hand, the toxicity of the flesh-colored passion flower has not yet been fully clarified.

notice: Prussic acid is a highly toxic substance, also known as hydrogen cyanide. By absorbing the toxin, an enzyme is inhibited in the body, which is required for the cells to breathe.

Blue passion flower, Passiflora caerulea

signs of intoxication

After eating parts of the passion flower plant, different symptoms can occur. These depend on the amount of hydrogen cyanide taken in. However, even a small concentration of the toxin of 1 to 2 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (tolerance range is between 1 and 60 milligrams per kilogram of body weight) can have fatal consequences. Because even the intake of small amounts can lead to a lack of oxygen.

tip: Consumption of the plant parts is not recommended. The plant should always be placed out of the reach of small children and pets so that they have no contact with the Passiflora.

Depending on the amount of poison ingested, a wide variety of symptoms can occur:

  • Scratchy throat
  • dizziness
  • a headache
  • circulatory problems
  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • increased salivation
  • cramps
  • general weakness
  • lack of oxygen

In the worst case, the central nervous system is first excited by the hydrocyanic acid, then paralyzed and respiratory paralysis can then occur.

notice: The passion flower is also known as the "flower of passion". The structure of the flower is a symbol for the passion (story of suffering) of Jesus on the cross. The crown-like, white-blue flower wreath represents the crown of thorns of the crucified.

First aid

Although no serious poisoning is to be expected after the consumption of poisonous parts of the passion flower plant by healthy adults, poisoning in small children and pets can be fatal due to their low body weight. Mainly cats, rabbits and other rodents are endangered here.

Nevertheless, if symptoms occur, especially in children

  • dialed the emergency number 112
  • an ambulance called and
  • information can be obtained from the Poison Control Center at the same time.

In the case of animals showing signs of poisoning, the veterinarian should be contacted.

tip: It is also advisable to always wear gloves when working on the passion flower.


Even the Native Americans used parts of the Passiflora plant in medicine. Only the leaves and stems of the Passiflora incarnata (flesh-colored passion flower) are used. Due to its drug-like effect, it is used in phytotherapy (herbal medicine) in the form of tea, capsules, high doses as an extract in drops and juices or as a combined preparation with valerian, St. John's wort, hops, hawthorn or lemon balm. These preparations provide relief

  • nervous restlessness
  • tension
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • back pain
  • tension
  • heart trouble
  • Stomach and intestinal problems
  • depressive moods
  • hysteria and
  • asthma
Flesh colored passion flower, Passiflora incarnata

tip: For tea, brew 2 g of freshly cut herb with 150 ml of boiling water, let steep for 5 to 10 minutes and then strain. A cup two to four times a day promotes well-being. If you have trouble sleeping, drink a cup half an hour before bedtime.

Beware of side effects

No preparations with additives of passion flower should be consumed during pregnancy. So far, however, not all side effects have been fully clarified. It can

  • sometimes allergic reactions
  • sleepiness
  • drowsiness and
  • impairment of driving ability.

Edibility of passion fruit

Botanically, the fruits of the passion flower are called berries. The fruits of 20 varieties are edible and also tasty. Depending on the species, they are known as passion fruit or granadilla. The fruits are

  • mostly ovate with firm skin
  • yellowish-green to brownish-red in color
  • with yellow flesh and dark, edible seeds similar to pomegranates

Depending on the variety, the taste of the pulp and the yellow juice can be extremely sour, bitter or sweet. It contains a lot of vitamin C. These exotic fruits are particularly popular with gourmets. The pulp is scooped out and eaten or can be processed into passion fruit juice.

However, the fruits of the real passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) are eaten most frequently. These are also known as purple granadilla or red passion fruit. In addition, other Passiflora species provide tasty fruits, for example

  • the yellow granadilla (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa)
  • the Sweet Granadilla (Passiflora ligularis)
  • the banana passion fruit or curuba (Passiflora tarminiana) and also
  • the king or giant granadilla (Passiflora quadrangularis)

On the other hand, the taste of the fruit of the blue passion flower (Passiflora caerulea) is completely inedible.

tip: The fruits of the flesh-colored passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) can be processed very well into jams, jellies or fruit drinks. The flowers, on the other hand, are wonderful for making syrup.

notice: Please note that this article is by no means a substitute for a doctor's visit. There is no guarantee of the correctness of medical statements.
Detailed information on first aid in the event of poisoning and important information on the poison control centers can be found here.

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