With the mangoes, melons, litchees and blackberries, summer is also about yellow and purple passion fruit. These are pictures of the purple variety or the Passiflora edulis. It's a vigorous climber and can easily reach heights of 15-20". A native of South America it is grown in many tropical/sub-tropical areas of the globe. In hot areas, it's one of the easiest things to grow.
The blooms are striking mainly because of the size and the thread-like edges. The oval fruit turn to purple when ripe. The rind is thick and the orange pulp with small black seeds, juicy.
See how the tendrils cling to anything in its path. In this case it is the long stalk of a papaya leaf. If the vine is not trained on a trellis, it goes out of control and threatens to envelop trees and any surface it may find.
The passion fruit vine grows best in full sun to partial shade. Apart from the fruit which is made into juices, jam, marmalade or simply eaten raw, the leaves are also edible. Cooked,of course! The fruit when ripe falls to the ground but this does not damage the fruit. Any soft fruit falling from a considerable height would be squased to inedibility but the thick rind acts as a barrier to any damage.
The juice is a good source of ascorbic acid. Oil extracted from the seeds is similar to sunflower oil. I've found out (online)that the rind is used for making pickle. It also has medicinal and cosmetic uses.
An interesting story that I found while googling was this. When the Spanish explored South America, they discovered that the passion fruit was used in native folk medicine as a sedative. When the Spanish brought the fruit to Europe the leaves were used as a sleep-inducing medicine.
The name "Passion" was given by Catholic missionaries in South America. The 'threads' of the flower were seen as a symbol of the Crown of Thorns, the five stamens for wounds, the five petals and five sepals as the 10 Apostles (excluding Judas and Peter), and the three stigmas for the nails on the Cross.
All these photos except for the close-up of the tendrils were taken in my mother's garden in April. I was on the phone yesterday talking to my mother when she mentioned that all the summer fruit are ripening. In her case the list is a good one--mangoes, blackberries, grapes, guavas, jackfruit and passion fruit. My mouth waters at the thought! And that's why this post!:)
Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins
The first flowering shrub I planted on our land
Every flower is a soul blooming in Nature.-Gerard De Nerval
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? -Henry David Thoreau