Passion fruit: origin, types and characteristics

Passion fruit is a tropical fruit with many names. See how you can consume it, its characteristics and its health benefits.

Last update: August 12, 2021

Passion fruit or fruit of the passion comes from a climbing plant with scientific name Passiflora edulis flavicarpa. The genus has about 400 species. It belongs to the same family as the curuba (P. mollisina), the sweet granadilla (P. ligularis) and the badea (P. quandrangularis).

Other popular names by which it is known are chinola, parcha, parchita, passionflower, curubo, tumbo and taxo, among others. It is a tropical fruit native to the Amazon and is desired for its sweet and sour taste. Its gastronomic use is wide, since jellies, jams, juices, desserts, liqueurs, soft drinks and infusions can be prepared.

Passion fruit juice represents between 30% and 40% of all fruit and its nutritional value stands out in vitamin C, A and soluble fiber. Do you want to find out about other of its properties?

Origin of passion fruit

The passion fruit is native to Brazil and it was used by the Aztecs to make refreshing drinks. The Spanish missionaries took it to Europe in the 16th century and when they observed in its flower the marks of the passion of Christ they called it Passiflora.

There are many varieties that are known and each one is typical of each country. For example, the sweet passion fruit is spread throughout South America, in Kenya and Hawaii. The cholupa in South America and the curuba is typical of Colombia. In Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia they grow the bucket.

The passion fruit represents an enormous wealth at an economic and nutritional level. The beauty of its flower is the reason why it is used as an ornamental plant in Europe. However, in America the fruit is consumed.



Passion fruit characteristics

Passion fruit plants are climbers and perennials. Its fruits vary in size and color according to the species, from yellow to purple or violet brown.

They are round or oval berries, inside which are the seeds. Its flavor resembles that of guava and is described as bittersweet. Inside its hard and smooth skin is the pulp, enclosed in a membranous, gelatinous, transparent, juicy and bittersweet sac.

Passion fruit has an important market as fresh fruit. According to some researchers, it can be used in the production of juices, nectars, concentrates, syrups and jams. The peel has a high fiber content and the seeds have protein and fat. For that reason, it can also be used as a raw material in animal feed.

This group of experts considers that the 86% of water it contains and the low concentration of sodium make it an excellent diuretic. It provides 12% of simple carbohydrates, such as glucose, fructose and sucrose.

The content of vitamin C is 20 milligrams per 100 grams of edible part; that is, one third of the recommended value. Among the multiple benefits of vitamin C, Castillo-Velarde highlights its antioxidant capacity to prevent certain chronic diseases.

The passion fruit with yellow pulp contains beta-carotene precursors of vitamin A. The Technical Guide for the Cultivation of Passion fruit indicates a contribution of 680 milligrams of active vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for visual health and reproduction.

The gastronomic use of passion fruit is varied and sweets or juices can be made.


Other types of Passiflora

Inside the name fruit of the passion includes various edible species of the genus Passiflora. They only differ in the type of fruit, size, color and flavor.

Purple passion fruit or granadilla

It is the Passiflora most common in Europe and its scientific name is Passiflora edulis sims. It has a gelatinous, refreshing, juicy texture and has a bittersweet flavor.

It is considered by many to be the best passion fruit and is native to South America, from southern Brazil to northern Argentina. The fruit resembles a rounded egg with a diameter of 4 to 8 centimeters.

When it is ripe, the shell that is thick and hard wrinkles. The external color varies between violet and dark purple, while the pulp varies between greenish or orange.

Sweet granadilla

It is known as Passiflora ligularis. It has an oval shape and measures about 11 centimeters, with one of its ends finished in a point. The skin is yellowish or orange in color and its pulp is gray or pale.

It is distributed from Central Mexico to Central and South America. The National University of Colombia reports that the main solids of this variety are natural sugars dissolved in the juice. Glucose, sucrose, and fructose account for 75% of all components.

Yellow passion fruit

The Passiflora edulis flavicarpa is known as yellow passion fruit. It is similar to purple or granadilla, only the skin color is yellow and they are much larger. It can reach up to 90 grams in weight.

Magazine Bioresource Technology It stands out for its important contribution of soluble fiber, such as pectin. This fiber is abundant in cell walls and is used as a gelling and stabilizing agent.

The yellow form of passion fruit is rich in pectin.

Badea or royal granadilla

Its scientific name is Passiflora quadrangularis and it is one of the largest varieties, as it can measure up to 26 centimeters in length. The shape is elongated and the shell is thick, with several bumps.

A group of food engineers refers that this variety of passion fruit is also known as giant tumble, real patch or quijon. Its pulp is slightly acidic in taste and smell, so it represents the optimal type for soft and refreshing drinks. Its leaves are used as a sedative and tranquilizer.

Curuba or tumbo serrano

In the book Passifloras They comment that, thanks to its organoleptic and nutraceutical characteristics, the curuba is the one with the greatest commercial potential for export. Its scientific name is Passiflora mollisima.

It is known in English as banana passion fruit, What tacos in Ecuador and passion fruit In Venezuela. Passion fruit is his usual name in Bolicia. The fruit measures about 10 centimeters, it is oval and elongated.

Passion fruit granadita from China

The Chinese granadita is a specific variety of passion fruit known to science as Passiflora edulis. It is a climber that can reach up to 10 meters in height, with shallow roots and white flowers. It is also known as mburucuyá and grows wild in the Paraná forest in Brazil.

The fruit has a spherical or oval shape and it can grow up to 10 centimeters long. It has a yellow or purple color when ripe and weighs between 80 and 90 grams.

It is used as a fruit for direct consumption or is prepared as juice, which represents 40% of all fruit. It has a yellow color due to the presence of carotenoids.

Chulupa, cholupa or gulupa

The cholupa is the species Passiflora malimorfis, whose skin is yellowish green or mahogany brown. The pulp is also yellow and contains many seeds. It is originally from Colombia and is not yet well characterized.

The Colombian Journal of Horticultural Sciences published that the fruit is consumed and used in the food industry due to its contribution of simple carbohydrates and vitamin C. It is also used for skin rejuvenation.

Taste the passion fruit

Any variety of passion fruit awakens the senses with its peculiar aroma and flavor. In addition, they provide a good proportion of vitamin C, fiber and simple sugars, which give an ideal bittersweet combination for preparing nectars, juices, sauces, jellies or jams.

To take better advantage of its vitamin C value, we must consume it fresh or drink its freshly prepared juices. Do not deprive yourself of trying it.