passionflower

In the forests of Central and South America grows the vibrant passionflower with deep red flowers and juicy yellow fruit. But its leaves are what really set it apart. Large and pointed, they hold chemicals that form a toxic compound called cyanide. When animals chew the leaves, the cyanide is released, killing the animal. But insects like the caterpillars of the zebra longing butterfly have evolved the ability to eat these toxic leaves.

Scientific name: Passiflora vitifolia
Nickname: scarlet flame
Characteristics: deep red flowers; green-yellow fruits; pointed, toxic leaves
Habitat: Tropical forests of Central America and South America
Size: 6-inch long leaves, 6-inch wide flowers,
15-20 foot vines
Cool Fact: The fruit of the passion flower tastes like strawberries.

Image credits: main image, © Shutterstock.