Passiflora incarnata (aerial parts)

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Passiflora incarnata L.   Passifloraceae  
Standardized common name (English): passionflower

Botanical Voucher Specimen

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Passiflora incarnata Tropicos 67675.jpg
Source: MOBOT,[1]

Passiflora incarnata Tropicos 67682.jpg
Source: MOBOT,[2]

Passiflora incarnata - Botanical Liasons.jpg
Source: Trish Flaster, MSc, Botanical Liaisons, LLC[3]

Organoleptic Characteristics

[Passiflora incarnata] Taste and odor slight.

Source: United States Dispensatory (1918) [4]

Macroscopic Characteristics

The plant is a smooth vine with finely hairy stems climbing to a height of 10 to 30 feet. Its smooth or somewhat hairy leaves, 3 to 5 inches broad, consist of three oval or egg-shaped lobes with finely toothed margins. The flowers, which appear May to July, are solitary and are characterized by a lavender and purple or pink and purple fringe 1 1/2 to 2 inches broad. The plant produces smooth, yellow, many-seeded, edible fruit almost 2 inches long, called maypops.

Source: American Medicinal Plants of Commercial Importance (1930) [5]

Stems glabrous or slightly pubescent above, striate, from 6 to 8 mm. in diameter, of variable length, woody, hollow, the cavity about one-half the diameter; bark very thin, greenish or purplish; wood very porous and bordered on the inner side by a thin layer of pith; fracture of the wood uneven, of the stem smooth, of the bark coarsely fibrous. Leaves more or less broken in drying, rather thick, glabrous or often pubescent, when entire nearly orbicular in outline, base cordate, deeply three- to five-lobed, lobes ovate, acute, finely serrate, petioles from 1 to 5 cm. in length, with two glands near the summit. Tendrils numerous and closely coiled, Flowers solitary, axillary, peduncles as long as the petioles, usually three bracted; calyx cup-shaped, four to five lobes; lobes linear, imbricated, cuspidate, corona of the fresh flowers purplish; petals four to five, yellow; ovary oblong, stalked; stamens monadelphus in a tube about the stalk of the ovary, separated above, anthers narrow, versatile. Fruit from 4 to 5 cm. in length, an ovoid, many-seeded berry; externally green or yellow, shriveled and wrinkled; seeds flat, ovate, yellowish to brown arilled.

Source: United States Dispensatory (1918) [6]

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PlantaPhile - 235.jpg
Source: PlantaPhile[7]

PlantaPhile - 1834.jpg
Source: PlantaPhile[8]

Microscopic Characteristics

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Passiflora incarnata-1 - Alkemist Laboratories.jpg
Pollen grain measuring greater than 70 μm in diameter and showing a reticulated exine observed at 400x with Acidified Chloral Hydrate Glycerol Solution.
Source: Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories[9]

Passiflora incarnata-2 - Alkemist Laboratories.jpg
Clusters of calcium oxalate observed at 400x with Acidified Chloral Hydrate Glycerol Solution.
Source: Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories[10]

Passiflora incarnata-3 - Alkemist Laboratories.jpg
Large fragment of a fiber from the stem observed at 400x with Acidified Chloral Hydrate Glycerol Solution.
Source: Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories[11]

Passiflora incarnata-4 - Alkemist Laboratories.jpg
Beaded cell walls of the corolla observed at 400x with Acidified Chloral Hydrate Glycerol Solution.
Source: Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories[12]

High Performance Thin Layer Chromatographic Identification

Passiflora incarnata (aerial parts) HPTLC ID - Sulfuric acid reagent, white RT

Passion flower (aerial parts) (Passiflora incarnata)

Lane Assignments Lanes, from left to right (Track, Volume, Sample):

  1. 2 μL Rutin
  2. 2 μL Hyperoside
  3. 4 μL Passion flower 1
  4. 4 μL Passion flower 2
  5. 4 μL Passiflora caerulea
  6. 4 μL Passiflora edulis
  7. 4 μL Passiflora biflora 

Reference Sample(s) Reference: Individually dissolve 2 mg each of rutin and hyperoside in 5 mL of methanol. 

Stationary Phase Stationary phase, i.e. Silica gel 60, F254 

Mobile Phase Ethyl acetate, formic acid, water, ethyl methyl ketone 50:10:10:30 (v/v/v/v) 

Sample Preparation Method Sample: Mix 500 mg of powdered sample with 5 mL of methanol and sonicate for 10 minutes, then centrifuge or filter the solutions and use the supernatants / filtrates as test solutions.

Derivatization reagents: 1) NP reagent Preparation: Dissolve 1g of natural products reagent in 200 mL of ethyl acetate. 2) PEG reagent Preparation: Dissolve 10 g of polyethylene glycol 400 in 200 mL of methylene chloride. Use: Heat plate for 3 min at 100°C, dip (time 0, speed 5) in NP reagent, dry and dip (time 0, speed 5) in PEG reagent. 

Detection Method Saturated chamber; developing distance 70 mm from lower edge; relative humidity 33% 

Other Notes Images presented in this entry are examples and are not intended to be used as a bases for setting specifications for quality control purposes.

System suitability test: Rutin: orange zone at Rf ~ 0.32. Asiaticoside: orange zone at Rf ~ 0.50.

Identification: Compare result with reference images. The fingerprint of the test solution is similar to that of the corresponding botanical reference sample. Additional weak zones may be present. The chromatogram of the test solution shows a greenish to yellow zone at Rf ~ 0.16. In the center of the chromatogram, above the position of reference substrate rutin there are four characteristic fluorescent zones: a yellow zone at Rf ~ 0.43, a green zone at Rf ~ 0.48, another yellow zone at Rf ~ 0.53 right above the position of the reference substance hyperoside, and another green zone at Rf ~ 0.60. Right below the solvent front there are red zones due to chlorophylls.

Test for other species: No zone is seen between the green zone at Rf ~ 0.16 and the lowest zone of the group of four zones (yellow zone at Rf ~ 0.43) (Passiflora caerulea, Passiflora edulis, Passiflora biflora). No yellow zones are detected between the upper green zone at Rf ~ 0.60 and the red zones below the solvent front (Passiflora biflora).

Source: HPTLC Association [13]

Supplementary Information


  1. MOBOT,
  2. MOBOT,
  3. Trish Flaster, MSc, Botanical Liaisons, LLC
  4. United States Dispensatory (1918)
  5. American Medicinal Plants of Commercial Importance (1930)
  6. United States Dispensatory (1918)
  7. PlantaPhile
  8. PlantaPhile
  9. Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories
  10. Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories
  11. Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories
  12. Elan M. Sudberg, Alkemist Laboratories
  13. HPTLC Association
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