Herbs & Plants

Passiflora mollisima

Btanical Name : Passiflora mollisima
Family: Passifloraceae
Genus: Passiflora
Subgenus: Tacsonia
Species: P. tarminiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms: Passiflora tripartita mollisima – (Kunth.)Holm-Niels.&P.M.Jørg.,Tacsonia mollissima – Kunth.

Common Name :Banana Passion Fruit (It was given this name in New Zealand, where passionfruit are also prevalent. In Hawaii, it is called banana poka. In its Latin American homeland, it is known as curuba, curuba de Castilla, or curuba sabanera blanca (Colombia); taxo, tacso, tagso, tauso (Ecuador); parcha (Venezuela), tumbo or curuba (Bolivia); tacso, tumbo, tumbo del norte, trompos, tintin or purpur (Peru).)

Habitat :Passiflora mollisima is native and commonly found in the wild in Andean valleys from Venezuela and eastern Colombia to Bolivia and Peru. It is believed to have been domesticated only shortly before the Spanish Conquest. Today it is commonly cultivated and the fruits, which are highly favored, are regularly sold in local markets. In 1920, the United States Department of Agriculture received seeds from Guayaquil, Ecuador (S.P.I. No. 51205), and from Bogotá, Colombia (S.P.I. No. 54399). The vine is grown in California as an ornamental under the name “softleaf passionflower”. It has never succeeded in Florida; is grown to some extent in Hawaii and the State of Madras, India. The climate of New Zealand seems highly suitable for it and it has been grown there, more or less commercially, for several decades.

Passiflora mollisima is an evergreen vigorous climber growing to 20 or 23 ft (6-7 m), its nearly cylindrical stems densely coated with yellow hairs. Its deeply 3-lobed leaves, 3 to 4 in (7.5-10 cm) long and 2 3/8 to 4 3/4 in (6-12 cm) wide, are finely toothed and downy above, grayish-or yellowish-velvety beneath. The stipules are short, slender and curved. The attractive blossom has a tube 3 to 4 in (7.5-10 cm) long, gray-green, frequently blushed with red, rarely downy; corolla with 5 oblong sepals and deep-pink petals flaring to a width of 2 to 3 in (5-7.5 cm); and a rippled, tuberculated, purple corona. The fruit is oblong or oblong-ovoid, 2 to 4 3/4 in (5-12 cm) long, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 in (3.2-4 cm) wide. The rind is thick, leathery, whitish-yellow or, in one form, dark-green, and minutely downy. Very aromatic pulp (arils), salmon-colored, subacid to acid and rich in flavor, surrounds the small, black, flat, elliptic, reticulated seeds.

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It is hardy to zone 6 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.


There are several species of Passiflora mollisima, for example:
*P. tripartita var. mollissima :
*P. tarminiana :

Mollissima and its close relative Passiflora mixta are vines with cylindrical stems densely coated with yellow hairs, and are vigorous climbers, growing up to seven metres. The leaves are a shiny green with clearly defined veins, the flower is large, pink and green petalled with a yellow and white centre. The fruit is yellow-orange when ripe and contains a sweet edible orange-colored pulp with black seeds.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Requires a well-drained soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season, otherwise it is not fussy. One report says that this plant is hardy to climatic zone 6 (tolerating frosts of -20°c) but this is surely a misprint. The top growth is said to tolerate slight air frosts and plants are said to be hardy on a wall in the mild areas of Britain, being commonly grown around Penzance. In S. America plants can tolerate occasional lows to -5°c. Outdoor grown plants should have their roots restricted in order to reduce vegetative growth and encourage fruiting. Plants do not generally fruit well in Britain[88]. In order to improve the chances of producing fruit 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. Cultivated for its edible fruit in S. America. Yields of 300 fruits per vine and 30 tonnes per hectare are recorded in S. America. 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.

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

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.

Fruit – raw or cooked. An agreeable flavour. An aromatic taste, it can be eaten out of hand or used as a flavouring in ice creams, fruit salads, puddings etc. A juice made from the fruit is highly prized in S. America. Individual fruits are up to 15cm long and weigh 50 – 150g.

Medicinal Uses:
The dried aerial parts of passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) have historically been used as a sedative and hypnotic (for insomnia) and for “nervous” gastrointestinal complaints. However, clinical evidence supporting any therapeutic use in humans is lacking. Early evidence suggests that passion flower may have a benzodiazepine-like calming action.

Evidence for significant side effects is also unclear, and is complicated by the variety of poorly classified, potentially active constituents in different Passiflora species.

Passion fruit (Passiflora edulis Sims), a related species, is used to flavor food.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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