Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Purple Passion!

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,

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

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!:)


Susie said...

I would love to have all those fruits growing in my yard like your moms. Sounds wonderful!

I never knew all that info about the passion vine. That's very interesting Kanak.

At work we sold a hybrid red passion vine but it isn't perennial for our zone.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos Kanak and I learned a lot from you about the passion vine today. Your mom's garden sounds wonderful. I would love to see some of the ripe fruit sometime. Blessings to you this day!

tina said...

I sure recognize this vine. We have it here in Tennessee. I think the Tennessee state vine. A good food for butterflies. I never knew about the juice. Pretty cool.

Guess what? Our forester spoke about the Queen's Crepe in his column last week. I already knew about it from your blog.

Wendy said...

Me too! I'd love to have those mouth-watering fruit growing in my garden! What nice pics. The first one looks like something from outer space. LOL!
You are so knowledgeable about the uses of plants. Thanks for sharing. I always learn something when I come here.

Anonymous said...

its quite funny, here in ireland, the passion fruit are growing all over my garden, so many flowers and so much fruit.

i guess its one of the positive affects of global warming

Life At Camellia Cottage said...

Ahhhh, Kanak, you brought back such lovely memories for me! When I was a child we called these 'maypops', and we played with them, even threw the green fruit at each other to hear them 'POP'!!! They don't ripen here, though - probably not a long enough season. I love the smell of them! And I knew the story of why it was called 'passion fruit'. Such a lovely story. Thank you! Becky

walk2write said...

The passionflower plant is wonderful even without the fruit. I grew it to cover an ugly chain link fence on our property when we lived in West Kentucky. Like Becky said above, the season was too short for the fruit to mature, but those flowers more than made up for it. It's interesting that those Europeans were always on the lookout for something to ingest to calm the nerves. Maybe they should have spent more time in the garden and less time at war. Kanak, I almost forgot to tell you how much I enjoyed your memory of the orchid in the chapel. I'd love to hear more about your experiences growing up.

Chandramouli S said...

Aaah! How I wish I could get hold of this edible beauty! The blue passion flower I have is not edible and doesn't bear fruit :( I even tried hand-pollinating with no luck... Is this fragrant too? The one in my garden smells like the Cannon ball bloom...
Wonderful photos, Kanak! You're so right about the vine going out of control if not checked. My vine almost choked the Jasmine plant which I rescued in time from becoming a victim. I love its gorgeous blooms.

Prospero said...

Hi Kanak. Nice post. I find the passion flower so intricate and beautiful. I currently have a few seedlings (that I started a few weeks ago) Have you ever grown the vine from seed?

Stephanie said...

Kanak, passion fruit makes my eyes close ;-) coz I remember it sour. But it does has a nice taste especially when drinking it with lots of ice. I like the flower... looks like a sun. At the highland, I saw many plants that you have posted earlier there. It was an interesting trip for me to see many subtropical plants growing so nicely. Btw, I have potted them and also trimmed some the withered flowers and leaves. Actually it is just bamboo orchids. The flowers are not very showy but when they were so many at the hill slopes, it was a wonderful sight ;-)

NatureStop said...

I love passion fruit:) but Arun doesn't:(.The story is indeed interesting.Love the shots!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Thanks Susie. The hybrid red passion vine sounds interesting! Happy gardening!

Thanks Mildred, the garden is indeed wonderful. I hope I can post photos of the ripe fruits.

Tina, I'm thrilled to know about it!! Wow, the vine being food for butterflies is a bonus I didn't expect. My spirits are soaring......!

Wendy...outer space!! That's something I haven't thought of! But you're right because yhe bloom does look alien!:) Thank you so much for your kind words.

Nibarryc, yours is after all an oriental garden:-) But honestly, if it were to be the other way round I'd have primroses growing wild here! Now, that's a lovely thought!!! Thank you for stopping by.

Hi Becky, thank you for sharing your childhood memories. Maypops? I love the smell too! The vine always reminds me of the garden shed, a ramshackle building, with the roof laden with varying colours of green and purple.

W2W, thank you so much! Everytime I find out details of plants I realise that so many of them come from the Amazonian basin. I'm increasing being drawn to the history of plants. As for the war-loving Europeans...I totally agree!

Chandramouli, I remember your beautiful photos of the passion flower! As for the fragrance, I can't say because I didn't smell it!! But every time I see a passion flower, I get so taken in by its beauty....

Prospero, I did grow the vine from seed about four years ago. It was the yellow variety but it died in the floods last year. The one I have now is a re-seeder from my mother's plant.

Stephanie, I'd LOVE to see the orchids. That sounds like a great trip! I know what you mean...some of the yellow orchids in my hometown are so tiny that they look good only in big clusters.

As for the passion juice, I love it too!! Some more ice, please!

Ruby thanks. I'm glad to know that. Most men don't like fruit with an acidic taste!But Juna loves bogori too!