Passiflora manicata ?

Christine Ashe
Don Herbison-Evans

We’ve had this very beautiful, evergreen, Passion vine growing on a purpose built arbour for a few years now. It is much admired by all who see it because it is lush and tropical looking and has a profusion of beautiful carmine pink flowers practically every month of the year. It is a very vigorous vine, and if left would grow out of its allotted space and smother nearby shrubs, so it has to be kept in check, but that is a small price to pay.

Our problem is what to call it? It was sold to us as Passiflora manicata, but that species is described to have a scarlet flower. Ours is a lolly pink. We wonder if the nursery misnamed it? It has been suggested that it may be Passiflora cv. ‘Donna Brigham’, and photographs of that plant are certainly similar, though the description of the leaf as having a “bubbly texture” do not quite match our plant. The leaf of our vine is a tri-lobed leaf, with one climbing tendril from each leaf node. The leaf is rather thin in texture and a mid green.

a leaf of our vine

Also: Passiflora ‘Donna Brigham’ is a registered trademark for a cultivar developed in the Americas, and there appear to be no references to it being sold in Australia under that name. However there is a similar plant called Passiflora manicata cv. Coral Glow, which looks very much like our plant, and that is sold in Australian nurseries. So perhaps the nursery in question labelled it correctly after all, but just left off the cultivar name. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the name, it is certainly a beautiful plant worthy of a place if you have a strong support structure and plenty of room.

Whilst researching: we noticed that many of the American websites refer to Passiflora species in general as being attractive to Hummingbirds. The Australian equivalent in our garden is the Eastern Spinebill. These busy little birds have adapted very well to the exotic Salvias in our garden, feeding from them in exactly the same way as a Hummingbird, that is hovering in front of them while their long bill probes the flowers, but we haven’t noticed them yet on our Passiflora flowers. We hope to see them find this food source in the near future.


Australian Butterflies
Flower families
Australian Moths

(updated 2 July 2009)