Ethnobotanical and economic importance of the genus Passiflora

Poster Session
Date and Time: 
Friday, 12 May, 2017 - 13:00
, Kayla

Plants of the Passiflora genus have impressed many people over time with their extravagant flowers. Europeans have valued the aesthetics of these plants for many years. Dating back even further, is the use by Native Americans for its medicinal properties as an anxiolytic and sedative and for its delicious fruits that were eaten as desserts. Today, the fruit of Passiflora edulis are a unique crop and serve as a $16 million industry in Australia. This angiosperm has been documented in North America to have very important and unique coevolving mutualistic relationships with its butterfly pollinator species, Heliconius spp. Due to the nature of this plant-pollinator ecology, this economic crop has very specific pollinator requirements. This relationship has great potential to answer some very important questions about pollinating insects and the plants they inhabit. This research could give insight to other plant and pollinator relationships and the issues they face today.