Passion Fruit:

What is it?, history, cultivation, nutritional value, uses, recipes, and more...

Passion fruit, whose scientific name is Passiflora ligularis, is a nutrient-rich fruit related to the passion fruit that strengthens the body and is cultivated in Peru throughout the year.

What is Passion Fruit?

Passion fruit is a climbing plant belonging to the Passifloraceae family that grows from central Mexico through Central and Western South America, from Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, western Bolivia to southern Peru.

This plant requires support for its development and has fibrous, fasciculated, and shallow roots, with a short primary root from which a large number of secondary roots emerge. It has a cylindrical herbaceous stem that, like the branches, has nodes every 12 to 15 cm. It has large, long, thick, heart-shaped leaves with an intense green color, measuring 8 to 20 cm in length and 6.5 cm in width. They are attached to a long and thick petiole that contains three pairs of approximately 1 cm long glands called ligules.

The flowers of the passion fruit measure 6 to 9 cm in diameter, have white and yellowish sepals and petals, and the corona has alternating purple and white bands.

The fruit, also known as passion fruit, is an ovoid or elliptical capsule measuring 6 to 12 cm in length. Its skin is hard, orange-yellow with white spots, and inside it stores flat, elliptical, black seeds surrounded by a transparent and gelatinous aril, which constitutes the edible part.

History of Passion Fruit

Although the origin of passion fruit remains uncertain, it is believed to come from the mountainous regions of the Andes, specifically from countries such as Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela, with Colombia being the largest producer of passion fruit worldwide.

It is believed that this fruit was domesticated in pre-Inca times. The oldest evidence in Peru dates back to 1200 BC and was found on the coast. Remains of this fruit have also been found in Ecuador and Colombia.

Initially, passion fruit was used as food; however, in later years, its medicinal properties were discovered and it began to be used for medicinal purposes.

In 1553, the chronicler Cieza de León made the first written record of the use of a Passiflora plant while exploring the city of Cali. In this record, he mentions: “The riverbanks (Cali River) are well populated with fruits that are found in the same land, among which there is a very tasty and fragrant one called granadillas.”

He also mentions that in Pasto (Nariño), “There is a lot of barley and jicama potatoes grown in that land, and there are very tasty granadillas.”

In 1560, the Spanish physician Nicolás Monardes, analyzed plants from the Americas and was the first to relate passion fruit to the passion of Christ, although the Spaniards in the colonies had already considered this fruit as a sign from God. Passion fruit was a symbol of passion:

The leaves represent the spear that pierced the side of Christ.

The tendrils that hold the plant are the whip with which Christ was whipped.

The column along the ovary is the pillar or column of the flagellation.

The five anthers are the five wounds.

The filaments of the flower are the crown of thorns.

The stamens are the nails used on the cross.

Furthermore, even the duration of the flower, three days, was considered the time between Jesus’ death and resurrection.

In 1653, Bernabé Cobo narrates, “The Spaniards have given it the name Granadilla because it bears some resemblance to the pomegranate, although it is very little.”

In the 17th century, there are texts that attest to the existence of passion fruit in Lima (Peru), and in the 18th century, it is known to have been cultivated in Lima and Trujillo. By this point, the plant had already been taken to Mexico and Guatemala.

In the late 18th century, Spanish botanical expeditions began to explore the botanical richness of their colonies, and artists created accurate illustrations of this plant to be sent to Spain so that its organs could be easily recognized and classified.

Currently, Peruvian passion fruit is exported with increasing success. In 2020, it registered 12 destination countries, with Canada being the main destination for passion fruit exports at $50.1 thousand, accounting for 24.1% of the total; followed by the Netherlands with $31.5 thousand (15.2%), and Italy with $26.96 thousand (13.0%) (MINAGRI, 2020).

granadilla alimento foods superalimentos peruanos
MéxicoGranada china, granada de moco
GuatemalaGranadita, granadilla común
VenezuelaParchita, parcha dulce, parcha importada, parchita amarilla
BrasilGranadilla, Maracujá doce, Passiflora doce
FrancésGrenadille douce, grenadille de montagne
InglésSweet granadilla, sweet calabash

Passiflora ligularis

SubclaseRosidae Fabidae

Passiflora ligularis

Juss., 1805

  • Passiflora ligularis var. geminiflora DC.


  • Passiflora lowei Heer


  • Passiflora serratistipula DC

Passiflora: a generic name adopted by Linnaeus in 1753, meaning “passion flower” (from Latin passio, meaning “passion,” and flos, which means “flower”). It was given by Jesuit missionaries in 1610 due to the similarity of some parts of the plant to religious symbols of the Passion of Christ.

Geographical distribution of the Passion Flower


Huánuco, Pasco, Junín, Cajamarca, La Libertad, Cuzco

Year-round availability of the Passion Flower

Varieties of the Passion Flower

The Passifloraceae family includes around 530 species divided into 27 genera. Only two genera are cultivated:

  • Passiflora L.

  • Tetrapathaea.

Nutritional value of Passion Fruit

Passion fruit contains flavonoids that promote the treatment of insomnia and anxiety, and it also has phytopathogenic effects. It is rich in vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, E, and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc.

Among its vitamins, it stands out for its contribution of vitamin C, which is present at 50% and is very beneficial for the body, especially for pregnant women and children.

It also contains thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, and due to its low calorie content, high protein content, and healthy carbohydrates, it is recommended for a healthy diet.

Health Benefits of Passion Fruit

This fruit has antioxidant properties and is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Contraindications or Side Effects

Excessive or recurrent consumption of passion fruit may cause some gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea due to its high fiber content.

Furthermore, its intake should be avoided before undergoing surgery because it stimulates the central nervous system and may interfere with anesthesia during surgery. For this reason, it is recommended to stop consuming this fruit at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

The consumption of passion fruit peel should be avoided as it contains cyanogenic glycosides, which are a source of cyanide.


Tabla Nutricional

10 Porciones por Kilogramo
Tamaño de porción 100g
Cantidad por porción

Cantidad por 100g
Energía1,814 kJ
Grasa Total12.7 g
Carbohidratos totales74.9 g
    Carbohidratos disponibles73.8 g
    Fibra Dietaria1.1 g
Proteínas6.0 g
Calcio22 mg
Fósforo665 mg
Zinc0.64 mg
Hierro0.60 mg
Agua4.8 g
Cenizas1.6 g
Vitamina A0 μg
Tiamina (B1)0.04 mg
Riboflavina (B2)0.04 mg
Niacina (B3)0.50 mg
Vitamina C0.00 mg
Acido Fólico (B9)
Fuente: Tablas peruanas de composición de alimentos – Centro Nacional de Alimentación y Nutrición – Ministerio de Salud – Perú

Derived Products and Ways of Consuming Passion Fruit

Ice creams

Uses of Passion Fruit

The main uses of passion fruit are medicinal and as food for human consumption.

Culinary Use of Passion Fruit

Currently, passion fruit is used to prepare a wide range of dishes such as desserts, jellies, ice creams, liqueurs, among others. Its versatility lies in the fact that the pulp can be consumed with the seeds, which contribute to most of the benefits.

The fruit is consumed fresh by gently breaking or cutting its skin and scooping out the contents with a spoon. The seeds are swallowed, and some people enjoy biting into them, while others do not. It can also be consumed as juice with water or milk.

Medicinal Use of Passion Fruit

The main medicinal properties of passion fruit are as follows:

  • It is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
  • It contains healthy proteins and carbohydrates.
  • It provides the body with vitamins such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B9, C, E, K, and provitamin A.
  • It acts as a natural sedative.
  • It is highly effective as a laxative and digestive stimulant.
  • It promotes sleep in people suffering from insomnia.
  • It helps eliminate cholesterol in the blood and prevent anemia.
  • It regulates heart rhythm and blood pressure, reducing cardiovascular risks such as heart attack.
  • It aids in the formation of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the blood.
  • It is beneficial for vision health.
  • It promotes children's growth.

Industrial Use of Passion Fruit

In the industrial field, passion fruit is used in the food industry for the preparation of jellies, jams, creams, sweets, liqueurs, ice creams, soft drinks, and more.

Another use it has been given is in perfumery. An example in this field is the perfumes released by Hugo Boss with their perfume Boss Orange Sunset or the brand Tommy Hilfiger with Tommy Girl Weekend Getaway, both perfumes that use the aroma of passion fruit flowers accompanied by other scents such as vanilla, orange blossom, among others.


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