Love in a Mist
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Love in a Mist
aturalized Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Love-in-a-mist, Stinking passionflower • Hindi: झुमका लता Jhumka lata • Bengali: ঝুমকা লতা Jhumka lota • Manipuri: ꯂꯝ ꯔꯥꯙꯤꯀꯥꯅꯥꯆꯣꯝ Lam Radhika nachom • Marathi: वेल घाणी Vel-ghani • Kannada: Kukkiballi • Malayalam: Chirranchantiya, Poochapalam • Tamil: Siruppunaikkali, Chiru punai-k-kali, Mupparisavalli • Telugu: Tellajumiki • Mizo: Ram-sapthei, Sapthei-suak
Botanical name: Passiflora vesicaria var. vesicaria    Family: Passifloraceae (Passion flower family)
Synonyms: Passiflora foetida var. glabrifolia, Passiflora foetida var. hispida

Love-in-a-mist is a creeping vine which has an edible fruit and leaves that have a mildly rank aroma. It is native to northern South America and the West Indies. The stems are thin, wiry and woody, covered with sticky yellow hairs. The leaves are three- to five-lobed and viscid-hairy. They give off an unpleasant odour when crushed. The flowers are white to pale cream coloured, about 5-6 cm diameter. Flower-cluster-stalks are 2-6 cm long, Bracts are 2-4 cm long, increasing in size as fruit develops, 2- or 3-piinately divided into gland tipped segments, usually closely interwoven. Flowers are white and mauve, 4.0-6.5 cm in diameter. Sepals are ovate-lanceshaped or lanceshaped, 1.5-2.8 cm long, 0.6-1 cm wide, Petals are oblong or lanceshaped, 1-2.5 cm long, 5-8 mm wide, thin-membranous, white on upper and lower surfaces. Corona filaments are in 5-7 series, the outer two series 1-1.8 cm long, thread-like, lower 1/3 to 1/2 part mauve or lilac, upper portion white, inner 3-5 series erect, 1-3 mm high, getting shorter towards base, white or white at base with mauve or lilac tip. The fruit is globose, 1.5-3 cm diameter, yellowish-orange to red when ripe, and has numerous black seeds embedded in the pulp; the fruit are eaten and the seeds dispersed by birds.
Medicinal uses: This species can be helpful in treating digestive problems, including dyspepsia and diarrhea; or used as an astringent and expectorant for nervous conditions and spasms.

Identification credit: V. Ashwini, Dinesh Valke Photographed in Uran, Maharashtra.

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