Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Passiflora edulis



Passiflora edulis (passionfruit)


  • Last modified
  • 19 February 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Passiflora edulis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • passionfruit
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. edulis is less frequently regarded as a serious invasive when compared with the related species P.mollissima or P. foetida. However it has the ability to spread and dominate large...

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Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); invasive habit. East Usambaras, Tanzania. April, 2015.
TitleInvasive habit
CaptionPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); invasive habit. East Usambaras, Tanzania. April, 2015.
Copyright©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); invasive habit. East Usambaras, Tanzania. April, 2015.
Invasive habitPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); invasive habit. East Usambaras, Tanzania. April, 2015.©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); leaves. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.
CaptionPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); leaves. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.
Copyright©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); leaves. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.
LeavesPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); leaves. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); flower. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.
CaptionPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); flower. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.
Copyright©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); flower. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.
FlowerPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); flower. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); ripening fruit. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.
CaptionPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); ripening fruit. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.
Copyright©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); ripening fruit. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.
FruitPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); ripening fruit. Uganda, north of Mount Elgon. July, 2014.©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); fruits and foliage.
CaptionPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); fruits and foliage.
Copyright©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); fruits and foliage.
FruitsPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); fruits and foliage.©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); opening flower.
CaptionPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); opening flower.
Copyright©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); opening flower.
FlowerPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); opening flower.©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); developing fruit. July, 2014.
CaptionPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); developing fruit. July, 2014.
Copyright©CABI/Arne Witt
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit); developing fruit. July, 2014.
FruitPassiflora edulis (passionfruit); developing fruit. July, 2014.©CABI/Arne Witt


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Passiflora edulis Sims

Preferred Common Name

  • passionfruit

Other Scientific Names

  • Passiflora diaden Vell.
  • Passiflora edulis f. edulis
  • Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa Degener
  • 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.

International Common Names

  • English: black passion fruit; passion fruit; purple granadilla; purple passion fruit; sour passion fruit; yellow passion fruit
  • Spanish: ceibey; curuba redonda; granadilla; granadilla china; granadilla morada; maracuya; maracuyá; maracuyá púrpura; pachis; parcha; parcha de monte; parcha morada
  • French: fruit de la passion; gouzou; grenadille; la grenadille; maracudja; pomme-liane violette; pomme-lianes
  • Chinese: ji dan guo
  • Portuguese: maracujá comúm; maracujá de comer; maracujá de doce; maracujá de ponche; maracujá mirim; maracujá pequeno; maracujá peroba; maracujá Redondo; maracujá-do-mato; maracujá-mochila

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: maracuja-do-campo
  • Colombia: cocorilla
  • Dominican Republic: chinola; parchita
  • Germany: Granadilla, Purpur-; Maracuja; Passionsblume, Essbare; Passionsfrucht
  • Haiti: grenadia
  • Indonesia: buah negeri; konyal; pasi
  • Italy: granadiglia; passiflora
  • Jamaica: mountain sweet cup
  • Malaysia: buah susu; markisa
  • Philippines: pasionaria
  • Thailand: linmangkon
  • United States Virgin Islands: water lemon fruit
  • USA/Hawaii: lilikoi
  • Vietnam: chùm bap

EPPO code

  • PAQED (Passiflora edulis)
  • PAQEF (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa)

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. edulis is less frequently regarded as a serious invasive when compared with the related species P.mollissima or P. foetida. However it has the ability to spread and dominate large areas in tropical and subtropical mesic to wet environments – especially areas in disturbed forest and scrub, including forests edges, gaps and riparian zones. The species may be allelopathic and as a climbing spreading vine it can become dominant in both the canopy and understory, where its weighty vines can weigh down and shade co-occurring trees, shrubs and herbs. P. edulis is listed as invasive in the Galapagos, Hawaii, Raoul and other tropical oceanic islands. It is naturalized and spreading but usually regarded as a minor weed in most areas where it is introduced e.g. Australia and Africa. As with many weedy crop species its invasiveness may be under-reported because of its useful qualities.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Passifloraceae is a family of angiosperms including 27 genera and about 975 species distributed mainly in America, but also in warm Africa (Stevens, 2012). The genus Passiflora includes more than 500 species, most of them native to tropical America.

Two forms of P. edulis are distinguished in the literature:

(1) P. edulis f. edulis; the purple passion-fruit (purple granadilla) with deep purple fruits 4-5 cm in diameter, with green tendrils and leaves. This is the most common form, and is considered by some to have the best flavour, though the desirability of the form’s fruit was debated in the original species description (Sims, 1818). It may be a mutated form of Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa (Bernacci et al., 2008).

(2) P. edulis f. flavicarpa; the yellow passion-fruit with canary-yellow fruits 6-12 x 4-7 cm and reddish-purple tinged tendrils and leaves; larger, more showy flowers with deeper purple corona and more vigorous growth.

However, it is possible that the differences between recognized forms reflect earlier author’s attempts to describe the wide genetic variability within the species rather than persistent regionally or ecologically distinguishable forms (Bernacci et al., 2008). For example a variety of intermediate fruit colours are known in the field. Bernacci et al. (2008) claim that most of the varieties or forms identified in the literature represent extremes in variation within a single species with a few representing cultivars, and that all these should fall under the single name Passiflora edulis Sims. For example, it is widely accepted that the purple-fruited varieties are more cold tolerant, and they are believed to flower earlier in the morning (Mabberley, 1997). Probably the observed differences are the result of mutations fixed via selective breeding. Unfortunately studies on the genetic variation present in the species are often restricted to a few cultivars and do not sample across wild populations (Ortiz et al., 2012); in general, however, the purple vs yellow fruit distinction seems meaningless genetically (Santos et al., 2011).

In most countries where the species is grown as a crop, it is the yellow cultivars that are commonly grown, such as 'Waimanalo Selection', 'Yee Selection' and 'Noel's Special' (Hawaii) and 'Mirim' or 'Hawaiiana' (South America). Purple passion-fruit dominates in southern and eastern Africa and in New Zealand ('Bali Hai'); in Australia cultivars are planted which are hybrids of the two forms: 'E 23', 'Purple Gold', 'Lacey' and 'Black Beauty'.

A recent treatment of the genus using modern phylogenetic methods puts P. edulis in a large clade of 60 taxa with a 2n = 18 chromosome number (Hansen et al., 2006; Muschner et al., 2012).


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P. edulis is an herbaceous vine, attaining 0.5-2 m in length and climbing by means of axillary tendrils. Stems slender, angular, striate, glabrous or puberulent. Leaves alternate, in the form of a horseshoe or a ‘v’, with three main veins, coriaceous, with two divergent lobes, forming an angle of 45-93° between them, the lobes oblanceolate, oblong, or linear, 2.2-6.5 × 0.4-1.4 cm, with rounded or acuminate apices, the base cuneate or rounded, the margin undulate, revolute; upper surface puberulent; lower surface glabrous, with prominent venation; petioles 3-5 mm long, canaliculate, without glands; stipules filiform, approximately 4 mm long; tendrils simple, filamentous. Flowers axillary, in pairs; the bracts subulate, not forming an involucre; peduncle ca. 10 mm long, articulated near the apex. Sepals oblong, green, 4-6 mm long; petals pale green, oblong, as long as the sepals; corona of two series of filiform filaments, pale green, as long as the sepals; gynophore approximately 2 mm long, tubular; stamens 5; ovary claviform, the styles recurved, the stigmas capitate. Fruit a fleshy berry, ovoid or globose, 1-1.4 cm long, almost black, dull. Seeds numerous, elliptical, approximately 2.3 mm long, with transverse striae (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005).

Plant Type

Top of page Herbaceous
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated
Vine / climber


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P. edulis is native to South America, from Brazil through Paraguay and northern Argentina. It is generally not reported as native to northern South America, though in some accounts it is listed as native in Venezuela and Colombia (Cervi, 1997). It is widely cultivated in tropical Africa, South-East Asia and tropical America and the Caribbean (Francis, 2000; PROTA, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014). 

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 ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes


ChinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
-FujianLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Yinzheng et al., 2007Cultivated: escaped in forests in mountain valleys, 100-1900 m
-GuangdongLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Yinzheng et al., 2007Cultivated: escaped in forests in mountain valleys
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedWu, 2001Cultivated
-YunnanLocalisedIntroducedYinzheng et al., 2007Cultivated: escaped in forests in mountain valleys
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated
IndiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Jammu and KashmirPresentIntroduced Invasive Khuroo et al., 2007
-KarnatakaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Ravishankar, 2014
-KeralaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Ravishankar, 2014
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroduced Not invasive Ravishankar, 2014
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
-JavaPresentIntroducedGurnah, 1991Cultivated
-Nusa TenggaraPresentIntroducedGurnah, 1991Cultivated
IranPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
LaosPresentIntroducedGurnah, 1991Cultivated
MaldivesPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
SingaporePresentIntroducedChong et al., 2009
TaiwanPresentIntroducedFlora of China, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2014
ThailandPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012Cultivated
VietnamPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012Cultivated


AngolaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
BeninPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
CameroonPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
CongoPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
Equatorial GuineaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
GabonPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
KenyaPresentIntroduced Invasive Lusweti et al., 2012; USDA-ARS, 2014
MadagascarPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014
MalawiPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
MauritiusPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
MayottePresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2013
MozambiquePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
RéunionPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2014
RwandaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Foxcroft et al., 2007; USDA-ARS, 2014
SwazilandPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
UgandaPresentIntroducedHenderson, 2001; Lusweti et al., 2012; USDA-ARS, 2014
ZambiaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014

North America

MexicoPresentIntroducedMartin and Nakasone, 1970
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresentIntroducedMorton, 1967; Wunderlin and Hansen, 2012; USDA-ARS, 2014
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2013
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012Guana
Costa RicaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
CubaPresentIntroducedKillip, 1938; Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedISSG, 2013
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2013
MartiniquePresentIntroducedISSG, 2013
MontserratPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
PanamaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012Naturalized and common in disturbed vegetation
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012St. John, St. Thomas

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeCervi, 1997; USDA-ARS, 2014
BoliviaPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
BrazilPresentNative Natural USDA-ARS, 2014
-AlagoasPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-AmazonasWidespreadNative Not invasive Forzza and Janeiro, 2010
-BahiaPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-CearaWidespreadNative Not invasive Forzza and Janeiro, 2010
-Espirito SantoPresentNative Not invasive Forzza and Janeiro, 2010
-GoiasPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-MaranhaoWidespreadNative Not invasive Forzza and Janeiro, 2010
-Mato GrossoPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-Minas GeraisWidespreadNative Not invasive Forzza and Janeiro, 2010
-ParaPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-ParaibaPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-ParanaWidespreadNative Not invasive Forzza and Janeiro, 2010
-PernambucoPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-PiauiPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-Rio Grande do SulWidespreadNative Not invasive Forzza and Janeiro, 2010
-Santa CatarinaWidespreadNative Not invasive Forzza and Janeiro, 2010
-Sao PauloPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
-SergipeWidespreadNative Not invasive Forzza and Janeiro, 2010
-TocantinsPresentNative Not invasive Cervi, 1997
ChilePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedFirko and Podleckis, 1996Cultivated for export
ColombiaPresentIntroduced Natural USDA-ARS, 2014
EcuadorLocalisedIntroducedJorgensen and Leon-Yanez, 1999; USDA-ARS, 2014Esmeraldas, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Ríos, Manabí, Napo, Pichincha, Tungurahua
-Galapagos IslandsLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Tye, 2001; Rentería and Buddenhagen, 2006Invasive in Galapagos; Floreana, Isabela, San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz
French GuianaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007
GuyanaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007
ParaguayPresentNativeCervi, 1997; USDA-ARS, 2014
PeruPresent Natural Missouri Botanical Garden, 2013
SurinamePresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007


BelgiumPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014Casual alien
PortugalPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Sims, 1818
-AzoresPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014Naturalized
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014Naturalized
SpainPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012


American SamoaPresentIntroducedSpace et al., 2000
AustraliaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedQueensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011Naturalized
-QueenslandWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011Naturalized in forests up to 100s of kilometers from nearest towns
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedQueensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011Naturalized
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedQueensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011Naturalized
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedQueensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011Naturalized
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedMcCormack, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2014
FijiPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Florence et al., 2013
GuamPresentIntroducedSpace et al., 2000
KiribatiPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroducedSpace et al., 2000
NauruPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
New ZealandLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Webb et al., 1988; Howell and Sawyer, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2014Fully naturalized, N. Auckland (plantations at Waitangi and Silverdale), near Auckland (Waitakere Range), Great Barrier Id; Kermadecs: well-established on Raoul Island
NiuePresentIntroducedSpace et al., 2004; USDA-ARS, 2014
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive Orchard, 1994
PalauPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2013Growing wild
Pitcairn IslandPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
SamoaPresentIntroducedSpace and Flynn, 2000
TongaPresentIntroducedSpace and Flynn, 2001; USDA-ARS, 2014
US Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated

History of Introduction and Spread

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It appears that P. edulis was initially introduced to Australia and Hawaii in the early 1800s. The type specimen was purple fruited, described in 1818 from the collection of exotic plants grown in Bayswater, London, UK in the Comtesse de Vandes’ collection, and sourced from seeds from Portugal, and presumably sourced directly from Brazil – and as noted is easily grown from seeds and cuttings (Sims, 1818). It is widely naturalized via escape from cultivation throughout its introduced range in tropical and subtropical Asia, Africa, the Pacific (Martin and Nakasone, 1970).

It seems likely that most introductions outside of South America occurred in the late 1800s or later. In Australia, it was flourishing and partially naturalized in coastal areas of Queensland before 1900 and in New Zealand in the 1930s (Morton, 1987). Commercial plantations of P. edulis were established in Kenya in 1933 and were expanded in 1960, when the crop was also introduced into Uganda for commercial production. In South Africa, by 1947 the production of P. edulis was 2000 tons for domestic consumption.

In Kruger National Park (South Africa), where this species is listed as invasive, it was first collected in 1988 (Foxcroft et al., 2007). From Brazil, P. edulis was introduced into Jamaica in 1913, Puerto Rico in 1925 and Venezuela in 1954 (Morton, 1987; US National Herbarium). 

Risk of Introduction

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This plant will continue spreading into new locations, initially because of its desirable qualities as a food and ornamental plant. The fruit will be transported for consumption (this could create an opportunity for accidental spread) and the seeds for planting. The plant can also be propagated readily from cuttings. Once a plant is established in a location, livestock, tortoises, monkeys, primates and birds can eat the fruit and potentially will spread the seeds, which remain viable after ingestion in many cases. Also, within areas where it is grown, dumping of garden waste could lead to accidental introduction to new sites.


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P. edulis grows in tropical and subtropical mesic to wet environments – especially forests and scrub, forest edges, forest gaps and riparian areas in forests. It probably benefits from supporting woody vegetation or uneven terrain, since its tendrils and vining or scrambling habit allow it to grow up and over its surroundings to capture resources.

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Principal habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Riverbanks Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Principal habitat Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural
Coastal areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Principal habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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The weediness and impacts of P. edulis are features of its fast growth and climbing and smothering habit and dispersal ability, although long distance dispersal may be rare. It may by virtue of proximity affect any plant upon which it grows, climbing upwards in the canopy supported by twining vines with tendrils that grasp nearby supporting vegetation or other items that provide structural support. In forested situations this might mean growth into the canopy. This may actually be a requirement for its reproduction, since fruit are unlikely to be produced in full shade. So far, concerns about the invasiveness of this species are generally in the context of it being a weed of forests, forest gaps and forest margins – especially in sites with high biodiversity value (Holt, 1992; West, 2002). For example the rare Scalesia pedunculata forests in the Galapagos islands are severely infested and of high value (Rentería and Buddenhagen, 2006). Its productivity in cultivation may be indicative of its capacity for spread, with 15-20 tons per hectare per year being possible (Bautista and Salas, 1995).

Biology and Ecology

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The chromosome number reported for P. edulis is 2n =18 (Melo et al., 2001; Hansen et al., 2006). The genetic diversity of the group has been investigated and shows no useful distinction between the varieties based on fruit colour (Santos et al., 2011).

Reproductive Biology

Flowers open shortly after sunrise and remain open until mid-morning the next day, but the stigma is receptive only on the first day. The purple passion-fruit is self-compatible, setting well if selfed, but the yellow passion-fruit often requires cross-pollination (Bruckner et al., 1993). Bumblebees (Xylocopa spp.; Bombus spp. and others) are the main bees that pollinate the flowers of the passion fruit; when and where they are not sufficiently active, hand pollination can be practised where the plant is cultivated. Flower buds emerge sequentially on the new shoots. They take 40-46 days to anthesis; the purple fruit matures 60-90 days later, the yellow fruit after 60-70 days.

Physiology and phenology

In Puerto Rico, P. edulis has been recorded flowering from April to October and fruiting from June to December (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005). In China, it flowers in June and fruits in November.

Growth and Development

As in many vines, light is the essential factor for flowering and in passion-fruit this is particularly true for floral development and fruit set. That is why training and pruning are important to ensure adequate exposure of the shoots when grown as a crop. In a monsoon climate most flowers are produced on the flush occurring at the end of the rainy season. Depending on the climate there may be one to three harvest peaks (purple passion-fruit) or a single, often very long harvest season (more common with the yellow passion-fruit).

Seeds lose their viability within a few weeks. Germination takes 2-4 weeks; the seedlings grow slowly and require 3-4 months to reach the transplanting height of 20-25 cm. Within 5-7 weeks after transplanting, each plant will have up to four healthy laterals. From then on the vine grows very rapidly; the first flowers are produced 5-7 months after transplanting when the vine can be 10-15 m long.

Environmental Requirements

The yellow passion-fruit grows best at altitudes of 0-800 m; the purple passion-fruit forms virtually no flowers below 1000 m and should be grown commercially at altitudes of 1200-2000 m.

The purple-flowered form tolerates light frosts and can be grown in the subtropics, as in Australia and New Zealand, while the yellow fruited variety is not, or is less tolerant of frost. Both crops grow on a wide range of soils; heavy clay soils have to be drained and very sandy ones need heavy manuring. A pH of 6-8 is preferred. In South-East Asia, it grown in areas with 2000-3000 mm annual rainfall, but the purple passion-fruit, especially, grows well on as little as 900 mm in Africa and Australia, provided the rainfall is well distributed.

The vines require sheltered locations without extreme temperatures: below 20°C pollen does not germinate and at 18-15°C both growth and flowering are set back, whereas temperatures above 30-32°C stimulate growth at the expense of flowering and fruit set. These critical temperatures were established for hybrid cultivars in Australia (Martin and Nakasone, 1970).



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A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
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]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
36 36

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 32


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall8003000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • shallow

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Alternaria passiflorae Pathogen Fruits/pods/Leaves not specific
Dasiops curubae Herbivore Inflorescence
Dasiops gracilis Herbivore Fruits/pods
Dasiops inedulis Herbivore Inflorescence
Dione glycera Herbivore All Stages
Eutetranychus banksi Herbivore Fruits/pods/Leaves not specific
Mononychellus tanajoa Herbivore Fruits/pods/Leaves not specific
Phytophthora nicotianae Pathogen Fruits/pods/Leaves not specific
Septoria passiflorae Pathogen Fruits/pods/Leaves not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Caterpillars of the Andean Silverspot (Dione glycera), the Juno Silverspot (Dione juno ), and the Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)  have been recorded in Venezuela (2070-3170 m alt.) feeding on P. edulis and causing serious foliage damage; in some cases adults oviposited on the plant (Causton et al., 2000). Also in Venezuela at 1200–2680 m altitude adult beetles of Lactica brevicollis have been recorded to feed on foliage and flowers, and the larvae to feed on roots of P. edulis, but  neither the beetles nor the butterflies identified in the study were specialists on P. edulis (Causton et al., 2000). This study focused on identifying natural enemies of the more invasive Passiflora mollisima, and identified a number of other polyphagous insects that presumably feed on this focal species and some others but it was not clear if they feed on P. edulis (Causton et al., 2000).

Fruit fly larvae Dasiops gracilis are known from immature fruit in Venezuela and Dasiops inedulis and Dasiops curubae larvae feed on immature flowers in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela (Aguiar-Menezes et al., 2004, Friesen et al., 2008). Spider mites Eutetranychus banksi and Mononychellus tanajoa (Bondar, 1938) have been recorded on P. edulis, with the occurrence on the plants being the result of high infestation levels on preferred species nearby (Mendonça et al., 2011). Though the specific feeding preferences for these mites was not recorded (in the study cited here) they are known to feed on the upper surfaces of leaves of other plant species and at high densities on fruit (Mendonça et al., 2011).

Nematodes, especially the rootknot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita, M. javanica and M. arenaria), are serious pests of P. edulis grown as a crop. Practical control measures are crop rotation and the use of tolerant rootstocks. The cocoa mirid Helopeltis clavifer, the passion vine bug Leptoglossus gonagra and the green vegetable bug Nezara viridula suck and pierce leaves and young fruits; these, together with the leaf-eating caterpillar Tiracola plagiata, are minor pests. Fruit flies that feed on passionfruit include the oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis), the melon fly (B. cucurbitae), the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) and the Queensland fruit fly (B. tryoni). Pierced young fruit shrivels and falls; later injuries cause damage which lowers the grade. 

Mealybugs (Planococcus citri) occurring as a crop pest are usually controlled by their natural enemies (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri). The same applies to scales and mites which incidentally do much damage: the red scale (Aonidiella aurantii) and soft brown scale (Coccus hesperidum), as well as the red spider mite (Brevipalpus papayensis) and the passion vine mite (Brevipalpus phoenicis).


The most important disease worldwide is brown spot (Alternaria passiflorae) on leaves, vines and fruits. Phytophthora blight (Phytophthora nicotianae) causes the wilting of shoot tips and crown rot, particularly where water stagnates occasionally. Septoria spot, caused by the fungus Septoria passiflorae, causes extensive spotting of leaf and fruit, and occasionally of the stem (Inch, 1978). Fusarium wilt is caused by the soilborne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. passiflorae; the shoots wilt, followed by a complete collapse of the plant.

A number of viruses have been reported where P. edulis is grown as a crop, notably passion-fruit woodiness potyvirus (PWV) and passiflora latent carlavirus (PLV). They are spread by aphids (Aphis gossypii, Myzus persicae) and pruning knives. Other virus diseases are ring-spot from Côte d'Ivoire, which is similar to PWV.

A much longer list of actual and potential pests and diseases has been compiled for a quarantine pest risk assessment for plants imported from Chile (Firko and Podleckis, 1996). It is difficult to determine which pests and diseases in that report are significant for plants growing in the field.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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The seeds are dispersed by people (intentionally and as garden or cooking waste), other primates and monkeys, cattle, tortoises, and birds (though fresh or recently mature fruit may be difficult for small birds to open) (Renteria et al., 2006; Rentería and Buddenhagen, 2006; Blake et al., 2012; Lusweti et al., 2012). In Hawaii, it is dispersed mainly by feral pigs 

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activities Yes Yes Francis, 2000
Host and vector organismsSeeds can be dispersed by birds, pigs, rats, and humans Yes Yes Francis, 2000
LivestockSeeds Yes Yes Francis, 2000

Impact Summary

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Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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P. edulis has the ability to spread and become dominant in tropical and subtropical mesic to wet environments – especially forests, forest edges, forest gaps and riparian areas in dry and wet forests (Stone et al., 1992; Rentería and Buddenhagen, 2006; Wunderlin and Hansen, 2012). Apparently it produces allelopathic chemicals capable of suppressing growth of some neighbouring plants (Khanh et al., 2006). Even within its native range it is recognized as an occasionally problematic weed in the same way that morning glory Ipomea spp. can become problematic (Cervi, 1997).

In a farm setting P. edulis can produce between 2 and 50 tons of fruit per hectare in Brazil (10 tons being common) suggesting it can produce a lot of propagules in any given area (Kist et al., 1995; Damatto Jr. et al., 2005; Gonçalves and Souza, 2006). In Hawaii it grows along seasonally dry streams which can contain large quantities of fruit, such that in a heavy rain a wall of yellow fruit is brought down the stream as it first starts flowing (Chris Buddenhagen pers. comm.). Being a climbing spreading vine it can become locally dominant in both the canopy and understory, where its weighty vines can weigh down and shade co-occurring trees, shrubs and herbs. It is these characteristics that make managers of natural areas pay attention to this species, particular in high value natural areas managed for indigenous biodiversity values (Holt, 1992; West, 2002; Rentería and Buddenhagen, 2006).

Seedlings of P. edulis are quite shade tolerant, though fruiting requires full sun. From germination, plants able to produce fruit within 7-12 months. In Australia the plant has been found hundreds of kilometers from the nearest town – presumably dispersed by birds (Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2013). It is regarded as problematic in the Galapagos, Raoul, a local problem on high value preserves in Hawaii, and is widely naturalized throughout its introduced range (Holt, 1992; West, 2002; Rentería and Buddenhagen, 2006). It is naturalized and invasive in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Puerto Rico and Florida (Henderson, 2001; Batianoff and Butler, 2002; Harris et al., 2007; Wunderlin and Hansen, 2012) as well as on many islands in the Pacific Ocean (PIER, 2014). 

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Scalesia pedunculataEN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered)Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading; Competition - smothering; Competition - stranglingRentería and Buddenhagen, 2006

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Reduced amenity values
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Competition - strangling
  • Competition
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • 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. edulis is grown as a crop to produce fruit and juices; thousands of tonnes per year are produced in South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It is generally regarded that the yellow variety (more acidic) is more suited to juicing and the purple variety is better as a fruit (milder and floral scents), and that the yellow varieties are more resistant to disease. A frequent claim is that the purple varieties (or cultivars) are better suited to relatively cooler subtropical climates.

Passion-fruit juice has a unique and intense flavour and high acidity which makes it a natural concentrate. When sweetened and diluted it is very palatable and blends well with other fruit juices. Typical processed products include ice cream, sherbet, nectar, juices, concentrate, squash, jams and jellies.

Passion flowers are widely employed by herbalists and natural health practitioners around the world. The species is mostly employed as a sedative, hypnotic (inducing sleep), nervine, anti-spasmodic and pain reliever.

With its very attractive flowers, it is also desirable as an ornamental or garden plant for homes around the world with suitable climate.


Uses List

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  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity


  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Beverage base
  • Fruits
  • Oil/fat
  • Spices and culinary herbs

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore


  • Propagation material
  • Seed trade

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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A number of Passiflora species are generally similar; close similarities are discussed in Bernacci et al. (2008) and a useful key for distinguishing a large number of species in the genus is given in the Flora of China (Yinzheng et al., 2007). The key to the different taxonomic sections or series of Passiflora shows that P. edulis is from section Passiflora, making it broadly similar to the other members of the section e.g.; P. incarnata, P. cincinnata,P. filamentosa, P. recurva, and P. trintae (Cervi, 1997). However, the phylogenetic relationships place it within a large clade of 60 species (Muschner et al., 2012).

Prevention and Control

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P. edulis is regarded as a minor weed, or locally serious problem and a common garden escape with local impacts. In the Galapagos islands, 3% Roundup (glyphosate) and 3% Combo (picloram and triclopyr combined) have been used to control the plant (Renteria et al., 2006). More than 10,000 plants were removed on Raoul Island (one of the Kermadec Islands) using a mix of hand weeding and herbicidal treatment (West, 2002).

In high value preserves on Maui, Hawaii, a mix of hand weeding and herbicidal cut and stump painting using herbicides has been used on this species (Holt, 1992). It has not been considered for biocontrol (Froude, 2002) though a number of generalist pests are known from its native and introduced range (Inch, 1978; Firko and Podleckis, 1996). Grazing can prevent establishment and spread of this plant in some situations (Lusweti et al., 2012).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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More work, using modern methods, needs to be done to determine the phylogenetic (including genetics and morphological) relationships between the recognized forms and between regional populations. It may be difficult to discern what its true native range is, but some effort to clearly describe it using objective criteria could be worthwhile.


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Wunderlin RP, Hansen BF, 2012. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. Tampa, Florida, USA: Institute for Systematic Botany, University of South Florida.

Yinzheng W, Krosnick SE, Jørgensen PM, 2007. Passiflora Linnaeus. In: Flora of China. Vol. 13. 141-147.

Links to Websites

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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.
Global Invasive Species Database (GISD)
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS) source for updated system data added to species habitat list.


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27/06/14 Updated by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

03/01/13 Original text by:

Christopher E Buddenhagen, Florida State University, USA

Distribution Maps

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