Passiflora edulis or passion fruit is a plant cultivated commercially in frost-free areas for its fruit. It is native to South America and widely grown in India, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia,Peru, California, 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.
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The two types of passion fruit have clearly differing 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 is smaller than a lemon.
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.
These forms of Passiflora edulis have been found to be different species. They occur in different climate regions in nature and bloom at different times of day. The purple fruited species is self fertile and the yellow fruited species, despite claims to the contrary, is self sterile. It requires two clones for pollination.
Fresh passion fruit is high in vitamin A, potassium, and dietary fiber. Passion fruit juice is a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The yellow variety is used for juice processing, while the purple variety is sold in fresh fruit markets.