Passiflora edulis (Passion Fruit)

Scientific name

Passiflora edulisSims


Passiflora edulis var. verrucifera (Lindl.) Mart.; P. verruciferaLindl.

Common names

Passion fruit, grenadelle, grenadine, passionflower, purple granadilla, purple passion fruit




Native to southern Brazil, Paraguay to northern Argentina

Naturalised distribution (global)

Locations within which Passiflora edulis is naturalised include eastern and southern Australia, southern Africa, New Zealand, south-eastern USA and some oceanic islands with warm climates.

Introduced, naturalised or invasive in East Africa

Passiflora edulis is invasive in parts of Kenya (A.B.R. Witt pers. obs.) and naturalised in parts of Tanzania (Henderson 2001) and Uganda (D.L.N. Hafashimana pers. comm.). The species is widely grown in Uganda for its fruits and has escaped and naturalised in most of the forests (both natural and plantation) where it continues to be dispersed by humans and primates through eating its fruits and passing out the seed which passes through the digestive system unharmed, though it does not seem to be a serious threat as a weed (D.L.N. Hafashimana pers. comm.).


Agricultural areas, natural forests, ruderal/disturbed, scrub/shrublands


Passiflora edulis is a vigorous, herbaceous, long-lived (perennialclimber, widely cultivated for its edible fruit.

Stems up to 15 m long, striate, with axillary simple tendrils up to 10 cm long. Leaves alternate, up to 13 × 15 cm, more or less deeply 3-lobed, slightly leathery, glossy green or yellow-green above, paler and duller green below, with 2 glands at the apex of the petiole; margin finely toothed; linear stipules present, c. 1 cm long.

Flowers solitary, up to 7 cm in diameter. Petals white, corona with filaments up to 2.5 cm long in 4-5 rows, white, purple at base. Fruit ovoid to spherical, 4-5 cm in diameter, yellow, greenish-yellow or purplish.

Reproduction and dispersal

This plant reproduces by seed which are animal-dispersed.

Economic and other uses

Passiflora edulis is widely cultivated for its fruit.

Environmental and other impacts

Wild plants can smother trees and shrubs and can naturalise in disturbed forests, along river banks, fencerows, abandoned farms, and urban open spaces. Young plants are eaten by livestock, so Passiflora edulis is almost never found in areas that are moderately to heavily grazed. 

P. edulis has been included in the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD 2010).


The precise management measures adopted for any plant invasion will depend upon factors such as the terrain, the cost and availability of labour, the severity of the infestation and the presence of other invasive species. Some components of an integrated management approach are introduced below.

The best form of invasive species management is prevention. If prevention is no longer possible, it is best to treat the weed infestations when they are small to prevent them from establishing (early detection and rapid response). Controlling the weed before it seeds will reduce future problems. Control is generally best applied to the least infested areas before dense infestations are tackled. Consistent follow-up work is required for sustainable management.

Small plants can be hand-pulled. Larger plants can be treated chemically by cutting the stem close to ground level and treating the stump. Spraying whole plants is problematic as it can affect the host plants. When using any herbicide always read the label first and follow all instructions and safety requirements. If in doubt consult an expert.

Biological control agents have been developed for related species of Passiflora.


Not listed as a noxious weed by the state or governments in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.


Fresh passion fruit is high in beta carotene, potassium, and dietary fibre. Passion fruit juice is a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and good for people who have High blood pressure (Chassagne et al. 1996). The yellow variety is used for juice processing, while the purple variety is sold in fresh fruit markets.


Chassagne, D., Crouzet, J.C., Bayonove, C.L. and Baumes, R.L. (1996). Identification and Quantification of Passion Fruit Cyanogenic Glycosides. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (American Chemical Society) 44 (12): 3817.

GISD (2010). Global Invasive Species Database online data sheet. Passiflora edulis (vine, climber). Accessed March 2011.

Henderson, L. (2001).  Alien weeds and invasive plants. A complete guide to declared weeds and invaders in South Africa.  Plant Protection Research Institute Handbook No. 12, 300pp. PPR, ARC South Africa.

Henderson, L. (2002). Problem plants in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Final Report to the NCAA.

Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Passiflora edulis Sims, Passifloraceae: plant threats to Pacific ecosystems. Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, Hawaii, USA.


Agnes Lusweti, National Museums of Kenya; Emily Wabuyele, National Museums of Kenya, Paul Ssegawa, Makerere University; John Mauremootoo, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL Secretariat - UK.


This fact sheet is adapted from The Environmental Weeds of Australia by Sheldon Navie and Steve Adkins, Centre for Biological Information Technology, University of Queensland. We recognise the support from the National Museums of Kenya, Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) - Tanzania and Makerere University, Uganda. This activity was undertaken as part of the BioNET-EAFRINET UVIMA Project (Taxonomy for Development in East Africa).


BioNET-EAFRINET Regional Coordinator: [email protected]