|Passiflora edulis – Passionfruit vine|
That is my passionfruit vine. Here's another photo of it growing around a banana plant.
|Click any of the photos to view larger|
I bought some passionfruit recently from Axel, a little boy who comes around every now and then selling lemons, mangos or other fruit. When he found out I like maracuyá, he came back again a couple of days later with a bigger bag for me. Enterprising little boy! I told him that I have plants but not any fruit and got him to inspect my plantings. He was impressed with the size and said that if his plant was that big, it would have 100 fruit on it. Thanks a lot! Rub it in. He and his brother Juan also pointed out that someone was macheteing my plants and probably cutting off all the potential flowers and fruit. Hmmmm.
If you aren't familiar with passionfruit (maracuyá in Spanish), there isn't much fruit inside – it's mostly brown/black seeds covered with a sort of gelatinous yellowish covering, a little juice, and a couple of small blobs of soft orange pulp. It's like the inside of a juicy, seedy tomato, except that the juice is yellow and the tiny seeds are crunchy. The flavor reminds me of grapefruit with a bit of a tropical twist and the crunch of the seeds is really nice.
Passionfruit is sometimes available in the grocery stores here in La Ceiba and probably more often in the market. The smaller purple variety is more orange inside and less acidic but the plant is more susceptible to problems. Maracuyá keeps for a relatively long time and is still good even after it gets all wrinkly.
The attractive vines are easy to grow from seeds. Axel suggested I plant some seeds from his fruit to see if they do any better. I'm going to do that and if I get a bumper crop, I'll share the fruit with him.
Below are some links if you'd like to know more about passionfruit:
Tropical Permaculture: Growing Passionfruit Vines
Wikipedia: Passiflora edulis
How to (Select and) Eat Passionfruit
One of my favorite sources of tropic fruit information is Fruits of Warm Climates by Julia F. Morton. The book is available online at Purdue University. I enjoy reading about the history of the fruits and the various uses in different countries. Here is the page on passionfruit.
Frutales y Condimentarias del Trópico Húmedo (Fruits and Spices of the Humid Tropics) covers well over 100 tropical fruits with photos of the fruit, flower, leaf, and the plant at various stages of growth. The book includes some information from Julia F. Morton's book, as well as specific local information (best varieties, growing and harvesting conditions, as well as common pests) based on trials done by CURLA and the Lancetilla botanical garden and consultations with local experts. The book is available for about $20 at CURLA University here in La Ceiba. It's in Spanish, of course.