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 foetida    Family: Passifloraceae (passion flower family)

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. The fruit is globose, 2-3 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. The bracts of this plant serve as insect traps, but it is as yet unknown whether the plant digests and gains nourishment from the trapped insects or if it merely uses the bracts as a defensive mechanism to protect its flowers and fruit. This is still an issue of debate and research among carnivorous plant enthusiasts.
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 Photographed in Uran, Maharashtra & Bangalore.

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