An Eco-sustainable World
ShrubbySpecies Plant

Passiflora mixta

Passiflora mixta

Curuba (Passiflora mixta L. fil.) 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. mixta species.
The terms are synonyms:
– Distephana quitensis (Benth.) M.Roem.;
– Murucuia speciosa Spreng.;
– Murucuja speciosa (Kunth) Spreng.;
– Passiflora brachychlamys Harms;
– Passiflora longiflora Lam.;
– Passiflora mixta var. bicoronata (Mast.) Mast.;
– Passiflora mixta var. eriantha (Benth.) Killip;
– Passiflora mixta var. mixta;
– Passiflora mixta var. subquinqueloba Triana & Planch.;
– Passiflora tacso Cav.;
– Passiflora tomentosa Cav.;
– Passiflora tomentosa Lam.;
– Passiflora urceolata (Mast.) Killip;
– Tacsonia bicoronata Mast.;
– Tacsonia eriantha Benth.;
– Tacsonia longiflora (Lam.) Pers.;
– Tacsonia mixta (L.fil.) A.Juss.;
– Tacsonia mixta subsp. normalis Mast.;
– Tacsonia mixta subsp. quitensis (Benth.) Mast.;
– Tacsonia mixta subsp. tomentosa (Cav.) Mast.;
– Tacsonia mixta var. bicoronata (Mast.) Mast.;
– Tacsonia mixta var. eriantha (Benth.) Mast.;
– Tacsonia mixta var. longiflora (Lam.) DC.;
– Tacsonia mixta var. speciosa (Kunth) Mast.;
– Tacsonia mollissima hort.;
– Tacsonia mollissima hort. ex Mast.;
– Tacsonia quitensis Benth.;
– Tacsonia quitensis var. eriantha (Benth.) Mast.;
– Tacsonia serrata H.Karst.;
– Tacsonia speciosa Kunth;
– Tacsonia tacso (Cav.) Pers.;
– Tacsonia tomentosa (Lam.) A.Juss.;
– Tacsonia tomentosa var. speciosa (Kunth) Mast.;
– Tacsonia urceolata Mast..
The following variety is recognized within this species:
– Passiflora mixta var. pilaloensis Holm-Niels..

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 mixta comes from misceo mix, mix: mixed, varied, mixed and in this context, we can refer to a mixed or hybrid variety of Passiflora. It’s possible that “Passiflora mixta” is a scientific name for a specific species of hybrid passion fruit, but without additional information, it’s difficult to determine for sure.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Passiflora mixta is an endemic plant of northern and western South America with a range that extends from Venezuela to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, at altitudes between 2,550 and 3,600 metres.
This species has become naturalized in Africa and New Zealand where it has often escaped cultivation.
Its habitat is that of forest edges and along the edges of natural areas.

Description –
Passiflora mixta is an evergreen climbing shrub, which produces shoots up to 4 meters long.
This plant is characterized by green, glossy, palmate leaves, composed of five lobes or segments. The leaves are oval in shape and can reach a length of about 10-15 centimeters.
It produces very showy and colorful flowers, typically with a white or pale pink corolla and a deep purple or red center. The flowers are very complex, with a corolla formed by five sepals and five petals. At the center of the flower are several purple or blue filaments, which surround the reproductive organs of the plant. These filaments give the flower a very characteristic and attractive appearance.
In detail we find an elongated hairy bract and a hypanthus which contains a narrow nectariform chamber. With a length of 7–15 cm; it has a hypanthium (otherwise known as a flower tube) with a base that holds nectar. The reproductive organs are located anterior to the hypanthium near the androgynophore. This species is capable of producing fruits and flowers which remain open for 3 to 5 days producing semi-pendant, horizontal or erect flowers.
The fruits are ovoid and about 45 – 60 mm long and 20 – 25 mm broad, yellow or orange when ripe. They are edible and contain pulp and seeds. Arils sparse and gray to orange in colour.

Cultivation –
Passiflora mixta is a tropical climbing plant with attractive flowers and edible fruits which is also appreciated for its ornamental appearance and medicinal properties.
The shoots of this plant climb over the ground or climb into the surrounding vegetation, supporting themselves by means of twisting tendrils.
The fruit is harvested from the wild for local use and the plant is occasionally cultivated, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant, in many tropical countries.
For cultivation, the plants require a temperature not lower than about 16 °C during flowering to ensure fruit setting.
It also requires a soil rich in humus, moist but well drained and a position in partial shade where it can grow towards the sun.
It prefers a soil around neutrality and doesn’t like very acidic or very alkaline conditions.
The plants are very tolerant of pruning and can be pruned to ground level if needed to rejuvenate the plant.
Propagation can be by seed, which is recommended to be sown as soon as they mature along with the pulp which will help break down the seed coat and speed up germination.
Stored seeds should be soaked for 24 hours in warm 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. It is advisable to sow in a shaded seedbed maintaining a temperature of around 19 – 24 °C. the young seedlings are then placed in individual pots where they will grow before transplanting.
The propagation can also take place through cuttings obtained from young shoots, taken at the nodes. Cuttings root best in a neutral to slightly acidic compost, but a 100% sand substrate 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 mixta is also known as curuba, curuba de indio, curuba de monte, curubita, curuba (Colombia), parcha (Venezuela), and taxo (Ecuador).
This species is widely grown as an ornamental plant for its showy flowers and decorative foliage. Furthermore, it is known for its medicinal properties, including its calming and sedative effect. Passiflora mixta extract is sometimes used as a natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety.
The fruits of Passiflora mixta are often used for the production of juices, ice creams and other food products.
In the food sector, fruits are consumed raw or transformed into juice, for the preparation of alcoholic beverages, jams, ice creams, etc.
The fruit has a pleasant and aromatic taste.
In the medicinal field, the leaves and roots are used and contain a substance called passiflorin with similarities to morphine and with tranquilizing properties.
The leaves are also considered anthelmintic, antihysteric and diaphoretic. They are used in Brazil to fight intermittent fevers, skin inflammation and erysipelas.
From an ecological point of view, this species of Passiflora is pollinated by the hummingbird Ensifera ensifera, which is the only living species of the genus Ensifera. This bird is found throughout the northern Andes and is identified by its extremely large bill which is longer than the size of its entire body.

Method of Preparation –
Passiflora mixta is a plant much appreciated for its fruits which can be eaten raw.
For their consumption it is advisable to use a sharp knife to cut the fruit in half, lengthwise.
Remove the pulp with a teaspoon: inside you will find a gelatinous pulp containing numerous seeds. Use a teaspoon to gently remove the pulp from the two halves of the fruit.
The pulp can be eaten directly and has a sweet and sour taste, reminiscent of pineapple or orange.
The seeds must be spit out as they are not edible.
If you don’t consume the fruits immediately, you can keep the remaining pulp in the refrigerator for a few days.
The pulp can also be used to prepare juices, smoothies, desserts or other food preparations.

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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