Passiflora edulis is a vine species of passion flower that is native to southern Brazil through Paraguay and northern Argentina. It is cultivated commercially in tropical and subtropical areas for its sweet, seedy fruit, commonly called passion fruit. The fruit is a pepo, a type of berry, round to oval, either yellow or dark purple at maturity, with a soft to firm, juicy interior filled with numerous seeds. The fruit is both eaten or juiced, the juice often added to other fruit juices to enhance aroma.
The passion fruit is so called because it is one of the many species of passion flower, the English translation of the Latin genus name, Passiflora. Around 1700, the name was given by missionaries in Brazil as an educational aid while trying to convert the indigenous inhabitants to Christianity; its name was flor das cinco chagas or “flower of the five wounds” to illustrate the crucifixion of Christ, with other plant components also named after an emblem in the Passion of Jesus.
Several distinct varieties of passion fruit with clearly differing exterior appearances exist. The bright yellow flavicarpa variety, also known as yellow or 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 purple passionfruit in Australia. The dark purple edulis variety is smaller than a lemon, though it is less acidic than yellow passionfruit, and has a richer aroma and flavour.
The flower of the yellow-fruited form of the passion fruit plant is self-sterile, while that of the purple-fruited form is self-compatible. Pollination of flowers is most effective when done by the carpenter bee.There are three types of yellow passion fruit flowers, classified by curvature of style. To help assure the presence of carpenter bees, place decaying logs near the vines, which provide shelter for the bees