Passiflora edulis Sims

Last updated: 18 Oct 2016


Scientific Name

Passiflora edulis Sims


Passiflora diaden Vell., Passiflora edulis f. edulis, Passiflora edulis var. pomifera (M. Roem.) Mast., Passiflora edulis var. rubricaulis (Jacq.) Mast., Passiflora gratissima A. St.-Hil., Passiflora incarnata L., Passiflora iodocarpa Barb. Rodr., Passiflora middletoniana J. Paxton, Passiflora pallidiflora Bertol., Passiflora picroderma Barb. Rodr., Passiflora pomifera M. Roem., Passiflora rigidula J. Jacq., Passiflora rubricaulis Jacq., Passiflora vernicosa Barb. Rodr. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Buah susu, markisa [2]
English Common passion fruit, granadilla, passion fruit, purple granadilla, purple water lemon [2]
India Gadiyaarada hoo, garendal, intsullasu, jhumkalat, jumaki hoo, kadamba hannu, sap-thei, sarbath, tapash-phalam, tapasukai [2]
Indonesia Buah negeri, konyal, pasin [2]
Thailand Banchawan, linmangkon [2][3]
Laos Linmangkon [2][3]; not [3]
Philippines Maraflora, pasionaria [2][3]
Vietnam Chúm bap [2][3]
Japan Kudamono-tokei-sô [2]
Hawaii Liliko’i [2]
France Grenadille [3].

Geographical Distributions

Passiflora edulis is a native of southern Brazil where it grows on the edges of rain forests. There are two distinct forms: forma edulis, the purple passionfruit, occurs in cool environments at higher altitudes, whereas forma flavicarpa, the yellow passionfruit, is at home in the tropical lowlands. The two types were distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics via Europe and Australia during the 19th Century. In South-East Asia passionfruit is mainly a home garden crop. [3]

Botanical Description

P. edulis comes from the family of Passifloraceae. It is a vigorous perennial but short-lived semi-woody vine, up to 15 m long. [3]

The stem is glabrous, grooved and green. The tendrils are axillary and spirally coiled, terete and longer than the leaves. [3]

The leaves comes with stipules and petioles; stipules are lanceolate at about 1 cm long while the petiole is 2-5 cm long, glabrous, grooved above, 2 circular glands at top; blades unlobed when young, later palmately 3-lobed, cordate at base; lobes ovate-oblong, 10-15 cm x 12-25 cm, acuminate, margin with curved teeth that are glandular tipped. [3]

The flowers are solitary, axillary, fragrant, showy, 7.5-10 cm in diameter; peduncle triangular, 2-5 cm long, near the apex with 3 leafy, ovate to lanceolate bracts; calyx tubular at base, lobes 5, spreading, reflexed, yellow-green below, white above, margins with up to 4 glands, apex with a thornlike appendage; petals 5, free, white and thin, alternating with calyx lobes; corona with 2 outer rows of wavy, radiating threads, 2—3 cm long, white with purple base, and 3 inner rows of short purple-tipped papillae; stamens 5, filaments united into a tube round the gynophore for about 1 cm and then widely parted for 1 cm, anthers large, versatile, 2-celled, transverse, pale yellow, hanging downward; ovary on gynophore, ovoid, 1-locular with 3 parietal placentas, styles 3, horizontal, clavate, with longitudinal furrow, 1 cm long, stigmas reniform or cordiform, 0.5 cm in diameter. [3]

The fruit is a globose or ovoid berry with diameter of 4-12 cm x 4-7 cm, deep purple or canary yellow; exocarp hard and thin, mesocarp greenish, endocarp white. [3]

The seeds are many and are attached to peg-like funiculi on the ovary wall, surrounded by yellowish aromatic pulpy/juicy edible arils; testa hard, black, 3-toothed at base. [3]


Early growth of passionfruit is slow and regular weeding is essential. Mulching along the rows or around the base of the plants greatly facilitates weed control and protects the roots. They grow best at altitudes 0 to 800m for yellow passionfruit and 1200 to 2000m at altitudes to grow purple passionfruit. Both crops grow on a wide range of soils; heavy clay soils have to be drained and very sandy ones need heavy manuring. [3]

Chemical Constituent

P. edulis stem has been reported to contain luteolin 6-C-β-D-glucopyranoside, luteolin 6-C-β-D-chinovoside, luteolin 6-C-β-L-fucoside, apigenin 8-C-β-D-glucopyranoside, apigenin-6-C-β-D-glucopyrano-4’-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, and 5,8-epidioxyergosta-6, 22-dien-3ol. [4]

In P. edulis orientin 2”-rhamnoside and luteolin 7-O-(2-rhamnosylglucoside), vitexin and isovitexin isomers can also be found. [5]

Plant Part Used

Vine, stem, leaves, fruit. [6][7]

Traditional Use

P. edulis was discovered in Peru in the mid-16th Century. Its use traditionally has been that of an anxiolytic or calming agent that has few, if any, side effects. Due to the calming properties of this herb, it was used for a variety of common complaints such as menstrual pain, menopause, rheumatic pain, asthma, hypertension and muscle spasms. Its use as an aphrodisiac is less common in traditional applications and more common in current use. In general, it has been used to treat stress and anxiety related symptoms of other conditions. In this sense it has been used for headaches, alcoholism, insomnia, bronchitis, diarrhea and seizure disorders. [6][7]

Preclinical Data


Antioxidant activity

The bioactive constituents maltol and ethylmaltol have been shown to have CNS sedation, anticonvulsant activity (high doses), and a reduction in spontaneous motor activity (low doses) in laboratory animals. [8]

The harmane alkaloids are reported to have CNS stimulatory action. It has been suggested that the maltol and ethylmaltol constituents may mask the stimulatory activity of the harmane alkaloids. [9]

P. edulis extracts have been reported to reduce motor activity, prolong sleeping time, raise the nociceptive (pain) threshold and produce an anxiolytic effect in laboratory animals [10]. P. edulis has been reported to increase the sleeping time induced by hexobarbital [11]. The exact bioactive constituents with this activity are controversial; Maltol shows sedative activity while other constituents not yet identified appear to provide much of the neuropharmacological activity [12].


No documentation

Clinical Data

In humans, P. edulis has been reported to be useful in combination with other sedative and anti-anxiety herbs such as valerian [13].These effects may be due to synergism and also due to the potential binding of P. edulis constituents to benzodiazepine receptors in vivo [12][14].


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Passiflora edulis Sims. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Oct 18]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 443.
  3. Gurnah AM. Passiflora edulis Sims In: Verheij EWM, Coronel RE, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 2: Edible fruits and nuts. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc, 1991; p. 244-248.
  4. Zhou YJ, Li HW, Tan F, Deng J. Studies on the chemical constituents of Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa. Zhong Yao Cai. 2009;32(11):1686-1688.
  5. Ferreres F, Sousa C, Valentao P, Andrade PB, Seabra RM, Gil-Izquierdo A. New C-deoxyhexosyl flavones and antioxidant properties of Passiflora edulis leaf extact. J Agic Food Chem. 2007;55(25):10187-10193.
  6. Taylor L. The healing power of rainforest herbs: A guide to understanding and using herbal medicinal. New York: Square One Publishers, 2005; p. 259.
  7. Talcott ST, Percival SS, Pittet-Moore J, Celoria C. Phytochemical composition and antioxidant stability of fortified yellow passion fruit (Passiflora edulis). J Agic Food Chem: 2003;51(4);935-941.
  8. Kimura R, Matsui S, Ito S, Aimoto T, Murata T. Central depressant effects of maltol analogs in mice. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 1980;28(9):2570-2579.
  9. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal medicines: A guide for health care professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996;206-207.
  10. Soulimani R, Younos C, Jarmouni S, et al. Behavioural effects of Passiflora incarnata L. and its indole alkaloid and flavonoid derivatives and maltol in the mouse. J Ethnopharmacol. 1997;57(1):11-20.
  11. Aoyagi N, Kimura R, Murata T. Studies on Passiflora incarnata dry extract. I. Isolation of maltol and pharmacological action of maltol and ethyl maltol. Chem Pharm Bull(Tokyo). 1974;22(5):1008-1013.
  12. Speroni E, Minghetti A. Neuropharmacological activity of extracts from Passiflora incarnata. Planta Med. 1988;54(6):488-491.
  13. Bourin M, Bougerol T, Guitton B, Broutin E. A combination of plant extracts in the treatment of outpatients with adjustment disorder with anxious mood: Controlled study versus placebo. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 1997;11(2):127-132.
  14. Wolfman C, Viola H, Paladini A, Dajas F, Medina JH. Possible anxiolytic effects of chrysin, a central benzodiazepine receptor ligand isolated from Passiflora coerulea. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1994;47(1):1-4.