Passiflora edulis or passion fruit is a plant cultivated commercially for its fruit. It is native to South America and widely grown in India, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Brazil, southern Florida, Hawaii, Australia, East Africa, Israel and South Africa. 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.
These vines are common in northern New Zealand, usually growing in the home garden or rampantly in bush areas. The variety has now been declared a noxious plant in many parts of the country. The plant has very attractive pink, pendulous flowers which develop into quite edible, yellow, elongated fruit when ripe.
This is the name for yellow passionfruit in Australia.
This is the only variety grown commercially in New Zealand at present. Variants of the purple passionfruit from Australia have been tried here and although they colour up well in the heat of summer, the early and late fruit tend to have a lot of greening, making them unacceptable in the market place.
This variety is not grown commercially in New Zealand. The vines grow well in summer but don?t tolerate cold winters. They are good croppers but the fruit tends to be small, though very sweet. It also has a tendency to appear diseased, giving it less acceptance in the market place.