Passiflora foetida is a herbaceous, perennial climbing plant grows up to 1.5 – 6 m tall. It has large, hairy leaves which are usually tri-lobed with ovate to angular lobes. They are spirally arranged with one leaf for each node. Crushed leaves produce an unpleasant odor. Leaves are cyanogenic and toxic. The stems are thin and wiry, covered with minute sticky yellow hairs. Older stems become woody. The blooms are white or creamy colored, about 5 – 6 cm in diameter. The center of the blossom is white, pink or red. The fruit is globose, 2 – 3 cm diameter, yellowish-orange to red when ripe, and has numerous black seeds embedded in the pulp, the fruits are eaten and the seeds dispersed by birds.
Scientific Name: Passiflora foetida
Common Name: Wild maracuja, Bush passion fruit, Marya-Marya, Wild water lemon, Stinking passionflower, Love-in-a-mist or Running pop.
How to grow and maintain Passiflora foetida:
It thrives best in full sunlight to partial shade.
It grows well in a humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil. Use a loam-based mix with a little peat moss.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. You can allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out between each watering. During the winter months, reduce watering.
Fertilize at least once every two weeks in the growing season with a dilute liquid fertilizer.
Bush passion fruit plants are very tolerant of pruning and can be cut back to ground level if required to rejuvenate the plant.
It can be easily propagated by seed or cutting. Cuttings of young shoots, taken at the nodes. The cuttings root best in a neutral to slightly acid compost. Also by air layering.
Pests and Diseases:
There is no serious pest or disease problems.
Benefits of Passiflora foetida:
- Passiflora foetida fruits are edible. The fresh, whole plant is boiled and the liquid used as a children’s anthelmintic, for intestinal nematodes and flatworms.
- A decoction of the dried leaves is drunk to treat colds and chest coughs.
- It is also used in the treatment of tuberculosis, worms, and for coughs and colds.
- The leaves are crushed in water and the solution drunk as an antidote to the bite of the Papuan Black Snake.