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What is a Granadilla?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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Sweet Granadilla, known more commonly as Granadilla and botanically as Passiflora ligularis, is a plant of the Passiflora genus. The plant, which gets its name from the presence of ligules or outgrowths in its corolla, produces attractive flowers and globular fruits that contain an edible, aromatic and sweet pulp. Granadilla is native to Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Columbia, Peru and Venezuela, and grows in the mountainous areas in these regions. It is also cultivated in India, Kenya, South Africa, Papua New Guinea and various other parts of the world. Other types of plants of this genus include the Giant Granadilla or Badea, also known as Passiflora quadrangularis, and the Passiflora edulis.

Passiflora ligularis is a fast-growing, climbing vine that can generally grow more than 20 feet (6.1 m) in height; the vine gives out tendrils that help the plant to climb. Given its climbing proclivity, it is best to plant this vine along a trellis or a chain link fence. The vine can also be trained and pruned over a lattice to form an attractive arbor.

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The vine leaves are evergreen, three-lobed and glossy, and are placed alternately on the vine. The passionflowers are produced singly and each flower is about two to three inches (5.1 cm to 7.6 cm) wide. The flower has a very interesting appearance, with white petals, a distinctive purple white tipped corona fringe and five central stamens. The passion fruit is round and smooth, about three inches (7.6 cm) long and about the same in diameter, and contains a transparent, gelatinous pulp and a number of hard, black seeds.

The pulp is eaten directly or mixed with water and sugar to make a drink. It is excellent as a health food, since it contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Granadilla is also a good source of calcium and iron. Extracts from the passionflower have traditionally been used to treat a variety of ailments like anxiety disorders, insomnia, menstrual pain, diarrhea and dysentery.

The Granadilla vine is propagated through seeds or through stem cuttings that have at least three or four nodes on them. The vine, as long as it is given a strong support to climb on, can do well in full sun as well as in areas of partial shade. These plants are easy to maintain once they are established, although they can be susceptible to snails, nematodes, viruses and Fusarium disease; regular checks and treatment can take care of these problems. The vine must be watered frequently, especially in the dry season, for it to remain fruitful year-round.

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