Passiflora aurantia is a species of native passionfruit. It occurs in eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales. Also occurs in New Guinea and on some Pacific islands. These photos were taken in Mount Coot-tha Forest Park. It is a host plant for larvae of the glasswing butterfly. Passiflora aurantia is a tendril climber – it develops filament-like structures from its stems which attach themselves to branches of other plants, thus providing support. Leaves are entire or tri-lobed leaves, dark green in colour and up to 70 mm long. Flowers start off white and change to red or salmon-coloured, seen mainly in winter and spring but some flowers may also occur at other times of the year.
Flowers start white and change to orange-red. Photo: Dick Harding
Green fruits about 50 mm in diameter contain greyish pulp and numerous black seeds. The pulp is reported to be edible but apparently not especially palatable. Propagate from seed which does not require any special pre-treatment. The name passiflora refers to the flower parts symbolically representing Christ’s passion. Aurantia means orange coloured, referring to the flower. Passiflora is a well-known genus because of the commercial passionfruit P. edulus which is a significant weed in Enoggera catchment. Passiflora aurantia was collected in 1770 by Joseph Banks when he visited Australia.
Green fruit is up to 50 mm in diameter. Photo: Dick Harding