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The Beautiful, Endangered Passiflora

They're known as passion flowers -- or, perhaps even more suggestively, passion vines. The name may be steamy, but the plants themselves have a rather chaste elegance to them -- don't you think? Either way, they're certainly beautiful flowers. 

But according to online science journal E! Science News, there's one particular variety of passion flower -- or Passiflora -- which is in danger of becoming extinct altogether!

The species is Passiflora kwangtungensis. As Dr. Shawn Krosnick, Department of Biology, Southern Arkansas University, said in a new study published in the journal Phytokeys: "Under IUCN Red List guidelines, Passiflora kwangtungensis should be classified as critically endangered. With just 14 plants observed in Hunan over three years of surveying, this species merits special attention given its small population size, limited genetic diversity, and self-incompatibility. I hope this study will provide the needed justification for protection of P. kwangtungensis, and possibly lead to restoration of this species throughout its ancestral range."

This type of passion flower is usually found in the Guangxi, Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces in China. It has little spherical berries and white or yellow flowers. But deforestization and rapid industrialisation in China have threatened its natural habitat, and now these passionate little petals are under threat. As Dr Krosnick says, with any luck the new study will help to raise awareness so that we can protect this pretty Passiflora!

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