Passion vine species that are safe for caterpillars

Which passion vine flower is safe for butterfly caterpillars to eat?

Toxic to caterpillars? Yes, some exotic passion vines will kill butterfly caterpillars in the US. How can you know which is safe?

Passion vines have beautiful flowers that attract people as well as butterflies. Quite often, when someone discovers that passion vine is a host plant, they already have one growing because they like the flower.

From our own experience and from listening to others, we have written a list of which species are safe, which are questionable, and which are deadly to caterpillars.

Some passion vine species are safe for one butterfly species and not another.  For example: Zebra Longwing caterpillars eat P. suberosa, biflora, lutea, foetida, and the native incarnata without problem.  If they are fed some of the other species, such as Lady Margaret, they won’t live yet Gulf Fritillary caterpillars thrive on Lady Margaret.

Passion vines, also called passion flowers, have common and botanical names. It is always best to buy your host plants by their botanical names. Passion vines are Passiflora species. In the list below, all are in the Passiflora genus. The name written below is the species name. Example, Maypop passionvine is Passiflora incarnata. After the botanical name, we include a common name.

incarnata – Maypop
‘Lady Margaret’ – (burgundy color)
biflora – Boomerang
suberosa – Corky stem
lutea – Yellow
eudlis – Passion fruit
foetida – Running pop

Most bright red blooming passion flowers