The passion fruit (Portuguese: maracujá and Spanish: maracuyá, both from the Tupi mara kuya “fruit that serves itself” or “food in a cuia”) is the fruit of a number of plants in the genus Passiflora.
Passion fruits are round or oval, and range from a width of 1.5 to 3 inches (3.81 to 7.62 centimetres). They can be yellow, red, purple, and green.
The passion fruit was first introduced to Europe in 1553.
The Portuguese maracujá and Spanish maracuyá are both derived from the Tupi mara kuya “fruit that serves itself” or “food in a cuia”.
The term ‘passion fruit’ in English comes from the passion flower, as an English translation of the Latin genus name, Passiflora, and may be spelled “passion fruit”, “passionfruit”, or “passion-fruit”. Around 1700, the name Passiflora was given by missionaries in Brazil as an educational aid while trying to convert the indigenous inhabitants to Christianity; its name was flor das cinco chagas or “flower of the five wounds” to illustrate the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection, with other plant components also named after an emblem in the Passion of Jesus.
The Passion Fruit (Passiflora edulis of the Passifloraceae family) is a woody perennial, evergreen, fast-growing climber vine that has 2 main types: the purple (Passiflora edulis) or the yellow (Passiflora edulis flavicarpa) passion fruit.
The passion fruit plant has tri-lobed, glossy leaves 10-18 cm (4-7 in) long with fine-toothed margins and alternate arrangement. The fruit starts to mature about 80 days after flowering during the warmest months of the year (summer to fall). The passion fruit vine has shallow roots, a woody structure, and the ability to climb using tendrils. The vines can grow up to 15 feet long.
Fruit: The fruit of both types is considered climacteric with high ethylene production.
The purple passion fruit plant bears dark-purple or nearly black, rounded, or egg-shaped fruit about 5 cm long, weighing 30-45 g.
Fruit of the yellow passion fruit is deep yellow and similar in shape but slightly longer (6 cm) and larger than the purple type. It weighs 60-90 g and averages about 75 g.
The fruit itself is nearly round or ovoid, measuring 1 1/2 to 3 inches (4-7.5 cm) in width. It has a tough, thick rind that is smooth and waxy, surrounding a layer of white pith.
Inside the fruit, there is a cavity that encloses up to 250 small, wedge-shaped black seeds. Each seed is surrounded by a deep orange-colored sac, which holds the juicy and contains the edible part of the fruit. The flavor of the fruit is appealing, with musky and guava-like notes, and it ranges from subacid to acid in taste.
Flowers: Passion fruit has some of the most characteristic and spectacular flowers, making it a very popular plant for aesthetic reasons and widely used as an ornamental plant. The flowers resemble a clock, are white and purple-blue (especially in the center), have five petals, three large, green, leaf-like bracts, and a diameter of approximately 4.5-6 cm, depending on the type of passion fruit . Additionally, the flower consists of five stamens with large anthers, an ovary, and a triple-branched style that forms a prominent central structure.
Pollination is essential for fruit production on passion vines. Flowers of the purple passion vine normally set fruit when self-pollinated. Still, many yellow passion vines will only set fruit if their flowers are dusted with pollen from a different vine that is genetically compatible. Passion requires mild temperatures for normal fruiting and may flower but sets no fruit (or misshapen fruit) during the hottest part of the hot season. The most effective insect for pollinating passion fruit is the bee. The native bee population may ensure adequate pollination and fruit naturally.
Yellow passion fruit flowers are perfect but self-sterile. In crossing the yellow and purple forms, it is necessary to use purple as the seed parent due to compatibility (it does not work the other way around).