Passionfruit

 

Botanical Name:Passiflora edulis
Family:Passifloraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Passiflora
Species: P. edulis

Other Names: Passiflora edulis, passion fruit.It is locally called Sohbrab in Meghalaya in India
Habitat: It is native to South America and widely grown in India, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Brazil, Ecuador, California, southern Florida, Hawaii, Australia, East Africa, Israel and South Africa. It’s cultivation has been extended to some areas of North-eastern region like Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Description:
The purple passion fruit (P. edulis) is a woody perennial vine with robust climber. The stems, tendrils and leaves are clear green without any trace of reddish or pinkish colour. The fruit is round or oval, 3 to 5 cm in diameter and deep purple when ripe. The yellow passion fruit (P. edulis f. flavicarpa) vine is much like that of the purple variety but is a more vigorous grower. It is distinguished by the suffusion of reddish, pinkish or purplish colour in stems, leaves and tendrils.The flowers have the scent of heliotropes.

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The passion fruit is round to oval, yellow or dark purple at maturity, with a soft to firm, juicy interior filled with numerous seeds. The fruit can be grown to eat or for its juice, which is often added to other fruit juices to enhance aroma.

The two types of passion fruit have greatly different exterior appearances. The bright yellow variety of passion fruit, which is also known as the Golden Passionfruit, can grow up to the size of a grapefruit, has a smooth, glossy, light and airy rind, and has been used as a rootstock for the purple passion fruit in Australia. The dark purple passion fruit (for example, in Kenya) is smaller than a lemon, with a dry, wrinkled rind at maturity.

The purple varieties of the fruit reportedly have traces of cyanogenic glycosides in the skin, and hence are mildly poisonous. However, the thick, hard skin is hardly edible, and if boiled (to make jam), the cyanide molecules are destroyed at high temperatures.

Cultivation details:
Requires a well-drained soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season, otherwise it is not fussy.

Plants are not very frost tolerant and are best grown in a greenhouse. However, the roots are somewhat hardier and can survive the winter outdoors in many areas of Britain if the soil is prevented from freezing. If plants are cut down to the ground by frost they can regenerate from the base. There is also the possibility of growing plants on rootstocks of P. caerulea which might make them hardier.

This species is often cultivated in warmer climes than Britain for its edible fruit, there are some named varieties. The fruit can be freely produced in Britain in hot summers.

Roots of outdoor grown plants should be restricted to encourage fruiting.

Any pruning is best carried out in the spring.

If fruit is required it is best to hand pollinate, using pollen from a flower that has been open for 12 hours to pollinate a newly opened flower before midday. The flowers open in sunny weather and do not open on dull cloudy days. The flowers have the scent of heliotropes.

A climbing plant, attaching itself to other plants by means of tendrils that are produced at the leaf axils.

Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow late winter or early spring in a warm greenhouse. If sown in January and grown on fast it can flower and fruit in its first year[88]. The seed germinates in 1 – 12 months at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. It you are intending to grow the plants outdoors, it is probably best to keep them in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Mulch the roots well in late autumn to protect them from the cold.

Cuttings of young shoots, 15cm with a heel, in spring.

Leaf bud cuttings in spring.

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Cuttings of fully mature wood in early summer. Takes 3 months. High percentage.

Uses
*A glass of passion fruit juiceIn Australia, it is available commercially fresh and canned. In addition to being added to fruit salads, passion fruit is commonly used in desserts, such as the topping for the pavlova (a meringue cake), cheesecake, and vanilla slice. It is also used to flavour soft drinks such as Passiona and cordials.

*In the Dominican Republic, it is used to make juice, jams, the chinola flavoured syrup is used on shaved ice and it is also eaten raw sprinkled with sugar.

*In Puerto Rico, where its called Parcha, it is widely believed to lower blood pressure. This is probably because it contains harmala alkaloids and is a mild RIMA.

*In Brazil, passion fruit mousse is a common dessert, and passion fruit seeds are routinely used to decorate the tops of certain cakes. Passion fruit juice is also very common.

*In Indonesia it is eaten straight as a fruit. Nevertheless, it is common to strain the passionfruit for its juice and cook it with sugar to make some sort of thick syrup. It is then mixed with water and ice to be drunk.

*In Hawaii, where it is called lilikoi, it is normally eaten raw. Hawaiians usually crack the rind of the lilikoi either with their hands or teeth and suck out the flavorful pulp and seeds. Lilikoi can also be cut in half and the pulp can easily be scooped out with a spoon. Lilikoi flavoured syrup is a popular topping for shave ice. Ice cream and mochi are also flavoured with lilikoi, as well as many other desserts such as cookies, cakes, and ice cream. Lilikoi is also favored as a jam, jelly, as well as a butter. Lilikoi fruits are not widely available in stores, so most of the fruit eaten comes from backyard gardens or wild groves. They however can be found in farmers markets sprinkled throughout the islands.

*Passion fruit juice or syrup is an essential ingredient of some cocktails, particularly the hurricane and the Peruvian maracuya sour.

*In South Africa passion fruit is used to flavor yogurt. It is also used to flavour soft drinks such as Schweppes Sparkling Granadilla and numerous cordial drinks.

Passion fruit juice can be boiled down to a syrup, which is used in making sauce, gelatin desserts, candy, ice cream, sharbat, cake icing, cake filling, etc. There is a preference for the purple variety as fresh fruit and the yellow one for juice-making.

Nutrition
Fresh Passion Fruit is known to be high in vitamin A, Potassium and dietary fibre. The Yellow variety is used for juice processing, while the Purple variety is sold in fresh fruit markets. Passion fruit juice is a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
Medicinal Uses: There is currently a revival of interest in the pharmaceutical industry, especially in Europe, in the use of the glycoside, passiflorine, especially from P. incarnata L., as a sedative or tranquilizer. Italian chemists have extracted passiflorine from the air-dried leaves of P. edulis.

The pulp of the fruit is stimulant and tonic.
In Madeira, the juice of passionfruits is given as a digestive stimulant and treatment for gastric cancer.

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Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passion_fruit
http://gbpihed.gov.in/envis/HTML/vol13_1/nrai.htm
http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Passiflora+edulis
http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/passionfruit.htm

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