An Eco-sustainable World
ShrubbySpecies Plant

Passiflora ligularis

Passiflora ligularis

The grenadia or sweet granadilla (Passiflora ligularis Juss.) is a shrub species belonging to the Passifloraceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Magnoliophyta division,
Class Magnoliopsida,
Violal Order,
Passifloraceae family,
Genus Passiflora,
P. ligularis species.
The terms are synonyms:
– Passiflora ligularis var. geminiflora DC.;
– Passiflora lowei Heer;
– Passiflora serratistipula Moc. & Sessé;
– Passiflora serratistipula Moc. & Sessé ex DC.;
– Passiflora tiliifolia L..
The following varieties are recognized within this species:
– Passiflora ligularis var. ligularis;
– Passiflora ligularis var. lobata Mast..

Etymology –
The term Passiflora comes from pássio passion and from flos, floris fiore: flower of the Passion, due to its appearance which recalls the symbols of the Passion of Christ.
The specific epithet ligularis is of Latin origin. It is the feminine form of the adjective “ligularis”, which derives from the noun “ligula”. Ligula in Latin refers to a small tongue or spatula. It is a diminutive of “language”. The word “ligula” was used to describe a variety of tongue- or spatula-shaped objects, such as a kind of spoon or a part of certain plants. Therefore, ligularis can be translated as “tongue-shaped” or “spatula-shaped”.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Passiflora ligularis is a plant native to the Andean region between Bolivia and Venezuela. It is present in western and northern South America, from Peru and Bolivia north through Central America to Mexico.
Outside its native range it grows in the tropical mountains of Africa and Australia (where they are known as passion fruit or granadilla), and is now common in local markets in Papua New Guinea, where it is known as “sugar fruit “.
Its habitat is that of the mesic or humid forests, in particular tropical forests of the plateaus, where these plants often climb the crowns, at altitudes between 1,000 and 3,000 metres.

Description –
Passiflora ligularis is an evergreen climbing shrub, which produces stems up to 10 meters long.
The stems scramble over the ground or clamber into surrounding vegetation, attaching to each other by means of twisting tendrils.
The leaves are abundant, heart-shaped with a pointed apex, they are large, alternate and palmate, with five distinct lobes.
The flowers are very showy, white and purple, with a crown of blue or purple filaments around the center. These flowers are very attractive to pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies.
The fruit of Passiflora ligularis is an oval or rounded berry, of an intense yellow color when ripe. It is between 6.5 and 8 centimeters long and between 5.1 and 7 centimeters in diameter.
The skin of the fruit is hard and shiny, covered with a kind of natural wax. Inside, the fruit contains a gelatinous and juicy pulp, yellow-orange in color, filled with numerous black seeds. The pulp has a sweet and aromatic taste, with a slight acidity.

Cultivation –
Passiflora ligularis is a plant commonly grown in tropical and subtropical areas and which produces a very popular fruit due to its unique taste and which is often used to prepare juices, ice creams, jams and desserts.
The main producers are Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil (where it is known as passion fruit or “sweet passion fruit”), South Africa, Rwanda and Kenya. The main importers are the United States, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain.
This plant prefers climates ranging from 15 to 18°C, with absolute nocturnal and diurnal extremes between 5° and 29° and between 600 and 1,000 millimeters of annual rainfall. It lives mainly at altitudes between 1,700 and 2,600 meters above sea level. It suffers in the sultry lowlands of the Equator while in the latitude of the tropics it can die if subjected to sporadic cold waves, but also to intense heat.
In addition to being cultivated, this plant is harvested in its natural state and also cultivated as an ornamental, appreciated for its large and fragrant flowers.
However, the plant is cultivated at altitudes between 800 and 3,000 meters in the tropics and down to sea level in the subtropics.
From the pedological point of view it requires a soil rich in humus, humid but well drained and a position in partial shade. It prefers soil with a pH in the range of 6 – 7, tolerating 5.1 – 7.5.
Many of the vigorous species, including this one, can grow well even in very shaded areas but in such a situation they climb into the forest canopy to get enough light to flower and produce fruit. Most species occur naturally in moist but well-drained soils, generally of a lighter texture, and will often flower and fruit more heavily if soil fertility is low. They often develop deep roots and can be moderately tolerant of dry spells.
This plant has escaped cultivation in some areas and is therefore considered invasive in countries such as Haiti, Jamaica, Hawaii, Singapore, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, the Galapagos Islands and Samoa. In New Caledonia it is declared a noxious weed and its introduction is forbidden. The plant can impact agriculture by smothering vegetation and preventing access, and can be poisonous or unpalatable to livestock. It also invades natural mesic forests and other natural vegetation formations, where it can shade understory plants.
The plants are very tolerant of pruning and can be pruned to ground level if needed to rejuvenate the plant.
The plant can be propagated by seed; this should be sown as soon as it matures along with the pulp which will help break down the seed coat and speed up germination. The fresh seed germinates in 10 – 20 days. Stored seeds should be soaked for 24 hours in hot water and germination time can be shortened if the seed is then mixed with the juice of a fresh passion fruit (of any species).
Even so, it can take 12 months for stored seeds to germinate.
Sowing should be done in a shaded position, maintaining a temperature of around 19 – 24 °C.
The young seedlings are then placed in individual pots and transplanted when they are large enough.
The propagation can also be carried out through cuttings of young shoots, taken at the nodes. Cuttings root best in a neutral to slightly acidic pH compost, but 100% sand also produces good results.
Fully mature wood cuttings taken at a knot can also be prepared. They can take 3 months, but there is usually a high rate of engraftment.

Customs and Traditions –
Passiflora ligularis takes different names depending on where it grows wild or is cultivated. In the places of origin its name varies a lot. It is known as granadilla in Bolivia, Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, the Azores, South Africa and Peru; common granadilla in Guatemala; granadilla de China or parcha dulce in Venezuela and granadilla in Jamaica.
This plant has food and medicinal uses.
We eat the fruits both raw and made into ice creams, desserts and refreshing drinks.
They have a pleasant and sweet taste. Among the passion fruits, it is considered one of the tastiest, the yellow-orange fruit contains a soft, translucent, fragrant pulp with a very pleasant taste.
The pulp is the edible part of the fruit and has a sweet, mellow taste. It is very aromatic and contains vitamins A, C and K, phosphorus, iron and calcium.
The plant contains bioactive compounds, including alkaloids and flavonoids, which give the fruit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has traditionally been used to treat insomnia, anxiety and pain, as well as being considered a natural remedy for high blood pressure and cholesterol reduction.
In the medicinal field it is in fact used for the digestive and diuretic properties of the juice which is recommended for patients with ulcers or hiatus hernia as it contains healing compounds.
It also helps with reflux in adults and children. It has an antispasmodic effect and induces drowsiness.
The leaves and roots contain a substance called passion flower which has similarities to morphine and is an effective tranquilizer.
The leaves of many species are also considered anthelmintic, antihysteric and diaphoretic. They are used in Brazil to fight intermittent fevers, skin inflammation and erysipelas.
Among other uses, it should be remembered that the flowers are used in the perfume industry.

Method of Preparation –
Passiflora ligularis is widely appreciated for its unique taste and medicinal properties.
The fruits can be eaten fresh or used as ingredients in various preparations, such as drinks, sweets or sauces.
To enjoy fresh Passiflora ligularis you can follow these steps:
– Choose a ripe fruit with a smooth yellow-orange skin. Cut the fruit in half with a sharp knife.
– Use a spoon to extract the gelatinous pulp and seeds from the central cavity.
– Enjoy the pulp directly or use it as a topping for yoghurt, ice cream or fruit salads.
You can prepare a delicious juice by following these steps:
– Peel the fruit and remove the seeds. Put the pulp in a blender or juicer. Add a little water and sugar to taste to sweeten. Blend until you get a smooth consistency. Then strain the juice through a strainer to remove any residue. At this point, pour the juice into a glass and serve it with ice.
If you like making homemade ice cream, you can try this recipe:
– Prepare the juice as described above. Mix the juice with fresh cream and sugar to taste in a bowl. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine or container suitable for the freezer. Follow the instructions of your ice cream machine or, if you are using the freezer, stir the mixture every 30 minutes to avoid the formation of ice crystals. Once the ice cream has reached the desired consistency, serve it and enjoy it.
You can also experiment further by adding this delicious fruit to recipes for cakes, jams or puddings, according to your creativity and tastes.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

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Attention: The pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not in any way represent a medical prescription; we therefore decline all responsibility for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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