Passion Fruit

Passion fruit, first cultivated in the tropics of South America, has provided both its culinary and medicinal benefits to people all over the world.

Quick Facts
General Information
  • Common name(s)Passion fruit, passionfruit, purple granadilla, purple passion fruit, maracuya, maracuja
  • Scientific namePassiflora edulis
  • Plant typeVine
  • Native regionSouth America
  • Main producer(s)Brazil
  • Main Economic UseFood industry
Passion Fruit

Passion fruit – originally from South America – is not just a culinary and aromatic delight, but it also contains medicinal compounds. This tropical fruit is now cultivated across the globe for its many benefits.

Medicinal and Nutritional Information

Quick Facts (Medicinal and Nutritional Information)
  • Medicinal actionAnxiolytic
  • Key constituentsHarmane, harmol, harmin, harmalin
  • Medicinal rating(3) Reasonably useful plant
  • Safety rankingSafe

Health Benefits of Passion Fruit

The therapeutic properties of passion fruit can be used for the following purposes:

  • Relieving anxiety and panic attacks
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Lowering blood pressure

How It Works

Passion fruit's varied medicinal properties and benefits come from its alkaloids, harmane, harmol, harmin, and harmalin. Passion fruit is also remarkable for its high nutritional value. The fresh fruit contains a significant quantity of vitamin A precursors - carotenoids - in addition to vitamin C (ascorbic acid), dietary fiber, and iron. Passion fruit is also rich in potassium. It is also a good alternative source of the antioxidant lycopene.

YELLOW PASSION FRUIT CONTAINS APPROXIMATELY 165 VOLATILE COMPOUNDS.

How to Consume Passion Fruit

Quick Facts (How to Consume)
  • Edible partsFruit
  • Edible usesFlavoring, Beverage
  • TasteSweet

Passion fruit is typically consumed as a culinary delight. However, in order to maximize its health benefits, this exotic fruit is also consumed in medicinal preparations.

Food

Main preparations: Raw, juiced, desserts

  • Raw. To consume passion fruit raw, the rind is sliced and opened, revealing the seeds and pulp. The pulp is then scooped out and swallowed without the seeds being chewed. The pulp of purple varieties of passion fruit is less acidic and about 35% juicier than yellow passion fruit.
  • Juice. Passion fruit juice is a refreshing and mess-free way to enjoy the fruit.
  • Desserts. Passion fruit is a common flavorful ingredient for cakes, ice cream, candies, and many other sweet preparations.

Remedies

Main preparations: capsules, powder, tea

  • Capsules. A concentrated form of passion fruit, capsules are useful for treating anxiety disorders and lowering blood pressure.
  • Powder. The benefits of the whole dried and processed fruit can also be found as a powder.
  • Tea. Enjoyed for both its taste and relaxation properties, passion fruit infusions are typically brewed from teabags or loose-leaf preparations.

Buying

Quick Facts (Buying)
  • Where to buySupermarkets, Big online retailers, Farmers' markets, Specialized health stores

Raw Passion Fruit

Raw passion fruit is easy to find in most grocery stores or local markets around the world. The most common presentation of raw passion fruit is as a whole, shelled fruit, though it is also available tinned. In the U.S., there are two popular varieties: one purple and one yellow. Regardless of hue, both varieties have a similar sweet and tangy taste.

Passion Fruit Supplements

Passion fruit supplements are mainly found in specialized health stores and online retailers. Capsules and teabags are the most common presentations, and powder for complementing workouts is also available.

Growing

Quick Facts (Growing)
  • Life cyclePerennial
  • Harvested partsFruit
  • Light requirementsFull sun
  • SoilLoamy sand
  • Soil pH6.1 – 6.5 (Slightly acidic)
  • Growing habitatSubtropical regions
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones6a (From −23.3 °C (−10 °F) to −20.6 °C (−5 °F)), 6b (From −20.6 °C (−5 °F) to −17.8 °C (0 °F)), 7a (From −17.8 °C (0 °F) to −15 °C (5 °F)), 7b (From −15 °C (5 °F) to −12.2 °C (10 °F)), 8a (From −12.2 °C (10 °F) to −9.4 °C (15 °F)), 8b (From −9.4 °C (15 °F) to −6.7 °C (20 °F)), 9a (From −6.7 °C (20 °F) to −3.9 °C (25 °F)), 9b (From −3.9 °C (25 °F) to −1.1 °C (30 °F)), 10a (From −1.1 °C (30 °F) to +1.7 °C (35 °F)), 10b (From +1.7 °C (35 °F) to +4.4 °C (40 °F))
  • Pre-germination seed treatmentSoaking
  • Plant spacing average3 m (9.84 ft)
  • Propagation techniquesCuttings
  • Potential insect pestsAphids
  • Potential diseasesCucumber mosaic virus

Passion fruit requires a habitat similar to its natural one that has full sun exposure. However, when temperatures are too high, partial shade is also required. Watering is essential to achieving a successful yield. Water and nitrogen fertilization balance is key to developing high quality, flavorful fruits.

Additional Information

Quick Facts (Additional Information)
  • Other usesAnimal feed, Cosmetics

Plant Biology

Passion fruit is a large vine with green leaves, 3 - 8 inches (8 - 20 cm) long, and fragrant white and purple flowers. It is prized because of its fruit, which is round and covered in a waxy hard shell and a sweet, orange-yellow pulp.

  • Classification
    Passion fruit is a member of the Passifloraceae family, which contains 530 species spread across 27 genera. Members of this family includes trees, shrubs, and climbing plants, all of which flower. Most species of the Passifloraceae family grow in tropical regions.

  • Varieties and Cultivars of Passion Fruit
    There are two naturally-occurring varieties of passion fruit (Passiflora edulis), yellow and purple. Prominent yellow cultivars include 'Yee Selection', 'Noel's Special', 'Hawaiiana', and 'Mirim', among others. Some of the most widely-cultivated purple cultivars are 'Bali Hai', 'Ouropretano', 'Common Purple', and 'Brasilera rosada'.

Historical Information

Although passion fruit has most likely been grown for much longer, the earliest recordings of it are from the 16th century, when it was made known to the Western world via Spanish conquerors in Brazil. From there, it was taken to Europe before being spread throughout the rest of the globe and valued for both its culinary and medicinal properties. In 1880, it was introduced to Hawaii, where it adapted easily and eventually began growing wild.

Economic Data

Brazil currently produces the most passion fruit in the world. However, it is grown in most places across the tropical belt, including other South American countries, Australia, and parts of Asia and Africa. It is estimated that the total worldwide production of passion fruit each year is 852,000 tons. Brazil accounts for 90% of production, and the principle market is Europe, which imports more than 90% of the juice produced.

Other Uses

Passion fruit has additional uses alongside its medicinal and culinary ones. The fruit's rind can be chopped for use as cattle fodder or be converted into silage. Passion fruit oil is also sometimes used in soaps and shampoos to add a pleasing scent.

Bibliography