Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Passiflora ligularis
(sweet granadilla)



Passiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla)


  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Passiflora ligularis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • sweet granadilla
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. ligularis is a vigorous climbing plant native to Mexico, Central America and northwest South America south to Bolivia. Valued for its edible fruit (second only to P. edulis) and ornamental flowers,...

  • Principal Source
  • Draft datasheet under review

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Passiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla); flower. Now pantropical from an origin in the neotropical highlands. West of Baeza, Ecuador. January 2012.
CaptionPassiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla); flower. Now pantropical from an origin in the neotropical highlands. West of Baeza, Ecuador. January 2012.
Copyright©Dick Culbert, Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Passiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla); flower. Now pantropical from an origin in the neotropical highlands. West of Baeza, Ecuador. January 2012.
FlowerPassiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla); flower. Now pantropical from an origin in the neotropical highlands. West of Baeza, Ecuador. January 2012.©Dick Culbert, Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Passiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla); fruits. Two sweet granadillas, one opened to show the edible seeds. March 2006.
CaptionPassiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla); fruits. Two sweet granadillas, one opened to show the edible seeds. March 2006.
Copyright©Fibonacci-2006/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Passiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla); fruits. Two sweet granadillas, one opened to show the edible seeds. March 2006.
FruitsPassiflora ligularis (sweet granadilla); fruits. Two sweet granadillas, one opened to show the edible seeds. March 2006.©Fibonacci-2006/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Passiflora ligularis Juss.

Preferred Common Name

  • sweet granadilla

International Common Names

  • English: sweet granadilla; yellow passionfruit
  • Spanish: granadilla; granadilla común; granadilla de China; granadilla de mesa; granadilla dulce; granadito; parcha; parcha amarilla
  • French: barbadine; granadille; granadille douce; grenadille douce

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: granadilha; maracujá doce; maracujá-amarelo; maracujá-de-são tomé; maracujá-inglês; maracujazeiro-mexicano
  • Colombia: curuba; granadilla; granadillo
  • Germany: Granadille; süße Grenadille
  • Guatemala: cranix
  • Papua New Guinea: suga prut
  • Peru: apicoya; granadilla; tintin
  • Portugal: maracujá doce; maracujá-amarelo; maracujá-de-são tomé; maracujá-inglês; maracujazeiro-mexicano
  • Sweden: sötgrenadill
  • USA/Hawaii: lani wai; lemi wai; lemona
  • Venezuela: parcha dulce; parcha importada; parchita amarilla

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. ligularis is a vigorous climbing plant native to Mexico, Central America and northwest South America south to Bolivia. Valued for its edible fruit (second only to P. edulis) and ornamental flowers, it is commonly cultivated and has often escaped in the tropical highlands of Central and South America. P. ligularis has been introduced and cultivated in India, east and southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand and several Pacific islands, and is invasive in  Haiti, Jamaica, Hawaii, Singapore, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, the Galapagos Islands and Samoa. In New Caledonia it is a declared noxious weed and its introduction is prohibited. P. ligularis can impact farming by smothering vegetation and impeding access, and may be poisonous or unpalatable to livestock. It also invades natural mesic forests and other natural vegetation formations, where it can shade out understorey plants.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Violales
  •                         Family: Passifloraceae
  •                             Genus: Passiflora
  •                                 Species: Passiflora ligularis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Passiflora ligularis A. Juss, the sweet granadilla, is part of the Passifloraceae family which includes about 530 species divided into 27 genera (Duarte and Paull, 2015). Only two genera, Passiflora L. and Tetrapathaea, are cultivated. The most important genus is Passiflora, with the most common commercial species being the purple passionfruit or maracujá (Passiflora edulis) for the fresh market and the more acid yellow passionfruit (P. edulis f. flavicarpa) for the juice industry. P. ligularis is a lesser known member of the genus also grown for its fruit (Duarte and Paull, 2015; Janick and Paull, 2008).

It is known as granadilla in Spanish, probably because of its inside resemblance to the pomegranate (granada in Spanish). It is also known as fruta moco (mucus fruit) for its pulp, and in English it is the sweet granadilla (Duarte and Paull, 2015).


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Description of P. ligularis adapted from Morton (1987), Holm-Nielsen et al. (1988), Davidse et al. (1994), Wagner et al. (1999), Mendes Ferrão (2002), Rodriguez (2007), Hyde et al. (2016) and Duarte and Paull (2015).

General description

P. ligularis is a vigorous perennial liana, stems greyish, furrowed, soft but woody at base, cylindrical (terete) or weakly angled, striate, glabrous, internodes up to 8 cm. Tendrils axillary, stout and long. Stipules oblong-ovate to oblong-lanceolate, 10-40 mm long, 8-12 mm wide, acuminate, entire or serrulate, narrowed at base. Petioles with 4-8, usually paired, elongate filiform or ligulate nectaries 4-10 mm long. The roots are fasciculate and shallow.


Leaves of P. ligularis are ovate, deeply cordate at base, abruptly acuminate, margins entire, 8-22 cm long, 6-17 cm wide, glabrous, venation pinnate, conspicuous, dark green almost blue upper side and a green-greyish underside, slight or strong violet tone in young leaves.


P. ligularis flowers have a sweet, musky odour, are pendent, campanulate, 6-12 cm in diameter; sepals acute, green outside, white inside, 25-35 x 10-15 mm; petals 3 cm long, 1 cm wide, white or white tinged with pink or violet, oblong; corona with 5-7 rows of filaments, approx. 3 cm long, blue at tips and with alternate bands of white and reddish purple to the base; hypanthium 0.5-0.9 cm long; peduncle solitary or paired, 2-4 cm; bracts 3, ovate, acute, entire, cordate, membranaceous, glabrous but tomentose near margin, 2-5 cm long, 1-3 cm wide. Anthers show the yellow-coloured pollen and the stigma is trifid.


The fruit of P. ligularis is an indehiscent capsule, 6.5-8 cm long and 5-7 cm wide with a 6-12 cm peduncle, it can be ovoid to spherical to slightly flat at the poles with the tip pointing towards the stem. It has a 1 mm epicarp, which is yellow to orange, sometimes purple, green or a combination, with white freckles in most varieties. This smooth epicarp shows six faint longitudinal lines. The epicarp is a hard sclerophyllous tissue that gives the fruit a firm texture and brittle nature and will crack rather than wrinkle as yellow passionfruit does when it ripens or pressure is applied. The 4-5 mm thick underlying white mesocarp is soft and spongy and the endocarp is a white film that separates from the mesocarp at maturity. The black elliptic and flat seeds are arranged on three longitudinal placentae and each seed is surrounded by a transparent jelly-like pulp that is very sweet and aromatic. There can be 250-350 seeds per fruit.


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P. ligularis is native to the Andes of northwest South America, from Peru and Bolivia to Venezuela, and through Central America to Mexico. It is an important fruit crop in its native range, and is perhaps the most widely cultivated Passiflora sp. in the Andes, as it can be grown at higher altitudes than congeners (Mendes Ferrão, 2002). In its natural range, it is both cultivated and found wild at elevations of 900-2700 m above sea level.

P. ligularis has been introduced to and is cultivated in India, east and southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand and several Pacific islands. It is invasive in Haiti, Jamaica, Hawaii, Singapore, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, the Galapagos Islands and Samoa. The plant is not suited to California, where it is severely damaged by low temperatures (Hodgson et al., 1950). It has been grown in greenhouses in Florida, but has never survived for long. Further north in the USA it is only planted as a summer ornamental (Morton, 1987).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


ChinaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Mansfeld's World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops, 2013
IndiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedKannan et al., 2011
IndonesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Sutasurya, 1997
-JavaPresentIntroducedRuhiyat, 1983
IsraelAbsent, formerly presentIntroduced Not invasive Morton, 1987Trial plantings, killed by cold weather
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedLirio et al., 2007
SingaporePresentIntroduced Invasive Randall, 2007Naturalised
Sri LankaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Mansfeld's World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops, 2013


RéunionPresentIntroducedMNHN, 2014
ZimbabwePresentIntroduced Invasive Hyde et al., 2015Garden escape

North America

MexicoWidespreadNativeDavidse et al., 1994; Prota4U, 2013
USAPresentDatamining 2011 - Invasive Species Databases
-CaliforniaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedMorton, 1987
-FloridaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedMorton, 1987
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Warshauer et al., 1983; Meidell et al., 1998; Wagner et al., 1999

Central America and Caribbean

Costa RicaWidespreadNativeDavidse et al., 1994
El SalvadorWidespreadNativeDavidse et al., 1994
GuatemalaWidespreadNativeDavidse et al., 1994
HaitiPresentIntroduced Invasive Morton, 1987
HondurasWidespreadNativeDavidse et al., 1994
JamaicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Morton, 1987
PanamaWidespreadNativeDavidse et al., 1994

South America

BoliviaWidespreadNativeJørgensen et al., 2014
ColombiaWidespreadNativeDavidse et al., 1994
EcuadorWidespreadNativeHolm-Nielsen et al., 1988Provinces: Azuay, Bolívar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Imbabura, Pichincha, Tungurahua.
-Galapagos IslandsLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Lundh, 2006; Guézou et al., 2010Escape from cultivation on Isabela, San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz islands
PeruWidespreadNativeDavidse et al., 1994
VenezuelaWidespreadNativeDavidse et al., 1994


AustraliaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Green, 1972
-QueenslandPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Winks et al., 1988
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedRandall et al., 1999Naturalised
Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive Space and Flynn, 2002aMa’uke Island
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedSpace and Flynn, 2001
New ZealandPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Prota4U, 2013
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedProta4U, 2013
SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2002bUpolu island

History of Introduction and Spread

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P. ligularis appears to have been introduced to most of its non-native intentionally, but few details of its introduction history are known. It first recorded in Hawaii in 1910, but it was probably introduced in 19th century (Morton, 1987; Wester, 1992). It was introduced to the Galapagos before the 1930s (Lundh, 2006). In 1916, the United States Department of Agriculture received seeds from Quito, Ecuador (Morton, 1987), but the plant has not established outside of cultivation in the USA.

Introductions to Israel, Italy and California, and growth trials in Sicily, were unsuccessful (Calabrese and Raimondo, 1979).


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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Hawaii 19th c. Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Morton (1987); Wester (1992)

Risk of Introduction

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P. ligularis has edible fruit and fragrant, ornamental flowers, so is frequently introduced intentionally in the tropics and subtropics. Naturalization following seed dispersal by birds and other animals has often followed.

It is a declared noxious weed in New Caledonia and prohibited from introduction there (MNHN, 2014).




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P. ligularis is found mainly in tropical and subtropical areas where the natural vegetation would be some type of mesic or humid forest, particularly tropical highland forests. Most reports of invasiveness are from islands, but probably because islands are more sensitive to invasive plants, rather than reflecting a preference for island habitats.

In its native range, P. ligularis is mostly found at 900-2700 m above sea level (Mendes Ferrão, 2002). In Colombia, it fruits well at 1500-2500 m, but at higher altitudes it flourishes and blooms but will not fruit (Ecoport, 2015). In northwest Venezuela, it is found at 1500-1840 m above sea level (Mazzani et al., 1999).

In Hawaii, it is naturalized in diverse mesic forests and wet forests, rarely in drier areas, 200-1070 m above sea level (Wagner et al., 1999). In the Galapagos, it is naturalized and invasive in mesic highland Scalesia pedunculata forest and ‘fern-sedge’ herbland and scrubland vegetation, up to at least 870 m (Herbarium CDS, 2015). In Jamaica, P. ligularis is naturalized at 1000-1200 m above sea level (Morton 1987).

P. ligularis is not suited to California, where it is severely damaged by low temperatures (Hodgson et al., 1950). It has been grown in greenhouses in Florida but has never survived for long. Further north in the USA it is planted as a summer ornamental only (Morton, 1987).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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P. ligularis is subtropical, not tropical (Morton 1987). The ideal range is between 16 and 24°C, with an optimum of 16-18°C or even 12-15°C in the Cusco area of Peru (Mamani-Quispe, 2000); it is intolerant of heat and thrives in humid conditions. P. ligularis is found mainly in tropical and subtropical areas where the natural vegetation would be some type of mesic or humid forest, particularly tropical highland forests. In its native range, P. ligularis is mostly found at 900-2700 m above sea level (Mendes Ferrão, 2002). In Colombia, it fruits well at 1500-2500 m, but at higher altitudes it flourishes and blooms, but will not fruit, partly because of the lower insect populations (Ecoport, 2015, Duarte and Paull, 2015). In northwest Venezuela, it is found at 1500-1840 m above sea level (Mazzani et al., 1999). It can also produce at sea level in the subtropical Peruvian central and southern coast where winters never reach freezing temperatures and summers rarely exceed 30°C. The vine does poorly in the subtropics where the summers are too hot or winters too cold. It will not withstand frost. In southern Peru when planted above 2200 m, the rainfall is less than further to the north, and temperatures cooler, growth is slow and production low. At higher temperatures, the plant requires more water and fertilizer; yields improve but the chances of Nectria infection increase, especially if above 20°C, while below 10°C, lower flowering and higher fruit abscission rates occur (Duarte and Paull, 2015). Excessive daily temperature fluctuations result in peel cracking (Fischer et al., 2009). It grows well over the winter in Florida, but declines with the onset of hot weather (Ecoport, 2015).

The ideal range of rainfall for P. ligularis is between 1500 and 2500 mm uniformly distributed throughout the year, otherwise irrigation is required during the dry months to avoid reduction in yields. Irrigation is a must in the dry Peruvian coast and in the valleys running down from the western Andes slopes where a good part of the Peruvian production occurs and rains are absent. In the Cusco area, with rainfall less than 500 mm year-1 that falls between October and April, irrigation is essential (Duarte and Paull, 2015).

P. ligularis does not seem to be photoperiodic, since it flowers almost year round at different latitudes. The longer the day the more the plants will grow and photosynthesize. Ideally, the plant needs a daily average of 8 h of sunshine or the fruit will become brownish in colour (Duarte and Paull, 2015).

The large soft leaves and delicate flowers of P. ligularis make it prone to damage by strong winds, especially when planted vertically in the fence type of trellis. Strong winds can interfere with insect pollination, branch breakage occurs, stigma and pollen can dehydrate and trellises, especially those of the fence type, can be damaged. Scarring of fruit occurs due to rubbing against other fruit and stems (Duarte and Paull, 2015).


P. ligularis prefers deep light soils from sandy loams to loamy clays with a medium to high content of organic matter, good drainage, a depth of 30-40 cm, and a pH around 6-6.5 although it grows well with pH above 7 in the Peruvian coast. Locations with risk of flooding are avoided (Duarte and Paull, 2015). The species can adapt to a fairly wide range of soils, including moderate to low fertility, provided the ground is well drained. It can also cope with thin volcanic soils so long as they are moist but will not withstand salinity (Ecoport, 2015). In many places, this species is grown in hilly or mountain areas with 25% up to 75% slope (Duarte and Paull, 2015)

P. ligularis is reported to grow better in association with the vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae Acaulospora foveata, A. longula and Glomus occultum, and in soil with endemic mycorrhizae, with best growth in association with A. longula (Rodríguez et al., 1995).

Reproductive biology

P. ligularis is allogamous and will start flowering about 9-10 months after planting and 75-85 days later, fruit are ready for harvest (Bernal, 1988). Pollination is performed by bumble bees (Epicharis), honey bees (Apis mellifera) and a large wasp. Trigona bees are sporadically found. The flower opens for only 1 day and the pollen is not viable early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Manual pollination may be required when there is poor insect activity (Duarte and Paull, 2015).


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Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30 30

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 2
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 16 31


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration00number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall6501800mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • shallow

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Cladosporium Pathogen Fruits/pods not specific
Dasiops curubae Herbivore Fruits/pods not specific
Dasiops dentatus Herbivore Fruits/pods not specific
Dasiops gracilis Herbivore Fruits/pods not specific
Dasiops inedulis Herbivore Inflorescence not specific
Dasiops yepezi Herbivore Fruits/pods not specific
Drosophila busckii Herbivore Fruits/pods not specific
Drosophila lutzii Herbivore Inflorescence not specific
Drosophila tripunctata Herbivore Inflorescence not specific
Drosophila willistoni Herbivore Fruits/pods not specific
Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. passiflorae Pathogen Seedlings not specific
Glomerella cingulata Pathogen Fruits/pods not specific
Haematonectria haematococca Pathogen Whole plant not specific
Meloidogyne hapla Parasite Roots not specific
Meloidogyne incognita Parasite Roots not specific
Meloidogyne javanica Parasite Roots not specific
Neosilba batesi Herbivore Fruits/pods not specific
Oidium Pathogen not specific
Phomopsis Pathogen Leaves not specific
Presbytis sumatrana Herbivore Leaves
Pythium Pathogen Seedlings/Seeds not specific
Rhizoctonia Pathogen Seedlings/Seeds not specific
Rhizopus stolonifer Pathogen Inflorescence not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Leaves are eaten by the Sunda Island leaf monkey Presbytis aygula in Java (Ruhiyat, 1983). Caterpillars of Phaegoptera decrepidoides, Lyces fornax and Heliconius telesiphe (Lepidoptera) have also been found feeding on P. ligularis (EOL, 2015). In Colombia, lance flies (Lonchaeidae) attack various plant parts: Dasiops inedulis attacks flowers and flower buds, and the less common D. yepezi attacks fruit (Santos Amaya et al., 2009; Wyckhuys et al., 2012; Carrero et al., 2013).

Dasiops gracilis, D. dentatus and Neosilba batesi attack fruit, Dasiops curubae and Drosophila sp. nov. (D. flavopilosa group, Drosophilidae) attack flowers and flower buds, and four other Drosophila spp. attack flowers (D. floricola, D. sp. in tripunctata group) and fruit (D. willistoni and D. busckii), at least occasionally (Wyckhuys et al., 2012).

The nematodes Meloidogyne incognita, M. javanica and M. hapla are found in the rhizosphere of P. ligularis (Tamayo, 2001; Múnera Uribe, 2008; Rocha et al., 2013).

Grey mould or rot Botrytis cinerea is responsible for nearly 30% loss of production in the province of Tungurahua, Ecuador (Vega et al., 2013). Species of Oidium and Ovulariopsis (powdery and white mildews) have been recorded on P. ligularis in Colombia (Tamayo et al., 1999; Tamayo and Pardo-Cardona, 2000).

Rhizopus stolonifer (black mould) affects buds and flowers and Cladosporium sp. (green mould or mould spot) affects fruit (Tamayo and Bernal, 2001). Glomerella cingulata (anthracnose) has been reported from diseased fruit (Tamayo, 1992; Bravo et al., 1993). Nectria haematococca (secadera) is regarded as the most important disease of P. ligularis in Colombia, where it mainly kills seedlings. Pythium sp. and Rhizoctonia sp. (damping off) similarly affect seedlings and also seeds (Tamayo et al., 1999). Phomopsis sp. causes leaf lesions, general chlorosis and premature leaf fall (Tamayo et al., 1999).

A strain of soybean mosaic virus (SMV) known as purple leaf disease damages the leaves, flowers and fruit of P. ligularis and other Passiflora species, reducing the commercial value of the fruits of P. ligularis (Tamayo et al., 1999; Castillo et al., 2001). This aphid-transmitted disease is widespread in Colombia, with up to 100% incidence in cultivated plants in some areas (Tamayo et al., 2000).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural dispersal

The species spreads vegetatively by rooting where its stems touch the ground.

Vector transmission (biotic)

The primary means of dispersal is by spread of its seeds internally by frugivorous animals and humans.

Intentional introduction

P. ligularis is regarded as a useful plant because of its edible fruit, and so is spread intentionally by people.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Cut flower tradeAlthough cut flowers are used in some places, this is not a major reason for the dispersal of the sp Yes
Escape from confinement or garden escapeSeeds dispersed by birds and mammals Yes Yes Staples et al., 2000
HorticultureThis is the major reason for the deliberate dispersal of the plant by people Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Plants or parts of plantsAs seed, seedlings, cuttings Yes Yes

Impact Summary

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Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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P. ligularis is usually regarded as a useful food plant; however, it can negatively impact farming by smothering vegetation and impeding access, requiring control with associated time and financial costs.

Many Passiflora species are cyanogenic, and may therefore be poisonous or unpalatable to livestock. However, levels of cyanogenesis seem to be low in P. ligularis (Chassagne et al., 1996).

Environmental Impact

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P. ligularis was classed by Randall (2007) as a cultivation escape, an environmental weed and a naturalised plant. In the Galapagos National Park, it has invaded native moist forest dominated by the endemic Scalesia pedunculata, and moist highland fern-sedge and low scrub vegetation, where it scarmbles over the dominant Pteridium aquilinum and Hibiscus diversifolius (Herbarium CDS, 2015). It has invaded similar habitats in national parks in Hawaii (Warshauer et al., 1983).

Social Impact

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P. ligularis can restrict access.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant


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P. ligularis is the second most economically important Passiflora species (Bernal-Parra et al., 2014). It is principally used for its edible fruit, but the flowers are also valued as ornamentals (Wagner et al., 1999). It is particularly valued in areas where the climate is too cool for the cultivation of other Passiflora spp. (Mendes Ferrão, 2002).

The fruit is normally eaten by hand by taking away a piece of its brittle peel or splitting it in two and scooping out the sweet and aromatic pulp with a spoon; the seeds are swallowed. It can also be mixed with water or milk in a blender to make a very good tasting juice, after separating the broken seeds. Marmalade and jelly can also be made. There is little industrial use for this tasty fruit. The juice has digestive and diuretic properties and is recommended for patients with ulcers or hiatal hernia since it contains wound-healing compounds and helps counter reflux in adults and babies. It has an antispasmodic effect and induces sleepiness. The beautiful flowers are used in the perfume industry and the peel can be used as cattle feed (Duarte and Paull, 2015).

Uses List

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  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity


  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Sociocultural value

Human food and beverage

  • Fruits


  • Cut flower

Detection and Inspection

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P. ligularis is most likely to be imported as seed, but also as cuttings or seedlings. Seeds may be difficult to identify, though seedlings and leafy cuttings should be identifiable by leaf characters.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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P. ligularis may be confused with other Passiflora species, though it can be distinguished by leaf and flower characters.

Prevention and Control

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Public awareness

Growers should be made aware of the invasive potential of the plant, although it is unlikely that this will lead to effective containment.

Physical control

Small plants can be hand pulled; older ones must be dug out (PIER, 2015).

Chemical control

Chemical control may be achieved by foliar spray or by cutting vines and treating them with broad-spectrum herbicides, including picloram and glyphosate.

Biological control

In one biological control study, 26% of 70 seedlings died after inoculation by dipping roots in a spore suspension of passionfruit base rot disease Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. passiflorae (Gardner, 1992).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Detailed information on the distribution and invasive status of P. ligularis is not available for much of the introduced range, particularly East, South and Southeast Asia; Africa, and islands in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean.


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Beal PR, Farlow PJ, 1982. Passionfruit (Passifloraceae). Australian Horticulture, 80(2):57...65.

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

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01/04/15 Original text by:

Alan Tye, BirdLife Cyprus, Cyprus

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