The passion flower is one of the few hundred endemic plant species of the Galapagos Islands. Passion flowers can be found in South American, but only those growing on the Galapagos are white — others are purple or red. The white flowers that bloom on the islands are the most common variant of the species, which has earned them the title of the official flower of the Galapagos.

These flowers bloom on vines that grow along the ground, tree trunks and shrubs in the arid and scalesia vegetation zones of the islands. The white petals encircle a deep purple center from which grow round green fruits that turn yellowish-orange as they ripen. Many Galapagos birds and other animals see these fruits as a food source, but they also contain medicinal value for people.

The ancient Aztecs used mainland passion flowers for pain relief, and herbalists still turn to these flowers for their sedative properties. Passion flowers have been used to treat heart conditions, anxiety and even epilepsy. These flowers are typically found on higher altitude islands in the Galapagos archipelago, so be sure to keep an eye out for these beautiful plants on your Galapagos Islands tour.

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