The Maypop or Passion Flower is a perennial vine that spreads rampantly and clings by means of tendrils. Some authors refer to this plant as an apricot vine.
In May thru July it is found in thickets, fields, fencerows and roadsides. The intricately-colored purple and white flowers were named in reference to the passion of Christ's Crucifixion. The fruit is a green or yellowish berry enclosing a sweet and aromatic pulp. When ripe the fruit is about the size of a small hen's egg. Tasting an overripe passion fruit may give a hint of fermented putrefaction.
One of many theories as to origin of the name “maypop” is that “maypop” is an alteration of “maycock,” from earlier “maracock,” perhaps of Virginia Algonquian origin. My childhood presumption — that maypops were named from their popping sound when stepped on — has fallen by the wayside.
Copyright © 2001–2002 William T. Hathaway.