Passiflora edulis (PASSIFLORACEAE) Edible Passionfruit

Weeds to Whack

Edible Passionfruit is a naturalised weed throughout eastern and southern Australia as well as Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island. Passiflora edulis is regarded as an environmental weed in New South Wales and Queensland. A native of southern South America, it is widely cultivated throughout the world including Australia. Around 1700, the name Passionfruit 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. The variety found at Walton Bridge Reserve The Gap seems to be P. edulis f. flavicarpa with the common name Panama Red. It’s likely passionfruit has escaped from agriculture and is spread by flying foxes. While it’s tempting to leave the vines to harvest the fruit, the flying foxes get the fruit first and continue to spread the weed. Passionfruit is a key ingredient of Pavlova and also Passiona which has been manufactured in Australia since the 1920s.
PHOTO: Anne Jones