Passiflora foetida

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Passiflora foetida
File:Passionfruit cream.jpg
Passiflora foetida flowers
File:P foetida fruit.jpg
Passiflora foetida fruits
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Passifloraceae
Genus: Passiflora
Subgenus: Passiflora
Species: P. foetida
Binomial name
Passiflora foetida

Passiflora foetida (common names: wild maracuja, bush passion fruit,[1] marya-marya, wild water lemon,[2] stinking passionflower,[2] love-in-a-mist or running pop[2]) is a species of passion flower that is native to the southwestern United States (southern Texas and Arizona), Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and much of South America. It has been introduced to tropical regions around the world,[2] such as Southeast Asia and Hawaii.[3] It is a creeping vine like other members of the genus, and yields an edible fruit.[4] The specific epithet, foetida, means "stinking" in Latin and refers to the strong aroma emitted by damaged foliage.[5]


Passiflora foetida leaves

The stems are thin and wiry, covered with minute sticky yellow hairs. Older stems become woody. The leaves are three- to five-lobed and viscid-hairy. When crushed, these leaves give off a pungent odor that some people consider unpleasant. The flowers are white to pale cream coloured, about 5–6 cm diameter. The fruit is globose, 2–3 cm diameter, yellowish-orange to red when ripe, and has numerous black seeds embedded in the pulp; the fruit are eaten and the seeds dispersed by birds

P. foetida is able to trap insects on its bracts, which exude a sticky substance that also contains digestive enzymes. This minimizes predation on young flowers and fruits.[6] Whether or not it gains nourishment from its prey is uncertain, and it is currently considered a protocarnivorous plant.[7]

This passion flower tolerates arid ground, but favours wet areas. It is known to be an invasive species in some areas.[4]


File:Passiflora foetida flower.JPG
Passiflora foetida flower

The fruits are roughly the size of a ping pong ball, or kumquat, and contain a bluish-white pulp that is mildly sweet and delicately flavored. In the Philippines, the fruit of Passiflora foetida are known colloquially as marya-marya[8] ('Little Mary') and santo papa (due to its resemblance to the Pope's mitre). Young leaves and plant tips are also edible. Dry leaves are used in tea in Vietnamese folk medicine to relieve sleeping problems.

Passiflora foetida contains high levels of saponins and is used as a substitute for soap in the manufacture of (soap-free) detergents.[citation needed]

Animal Interactions

Passiflora foetida is a larval host and nectar source for the Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae). [9]


  1. Alegre’s exotic culinary discoveries By Aissa dela Cruz
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Passiflora foetida L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-07-25. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  3. Food Standards: Passiflora foetida
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Passiflora foetida (vine, climber)". Global Invasive Species Database. Invasive Species Specialist Group. 2006-03-23. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  5. Nellis, David W. (1997). Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean. Pineapple Press Inc. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-56164-111-6. 
  6. Radhamani, T R; L Sudarshana; Rani Krishnan (December 1995). "Defense and carnivory: Dual role of bracts in Passiflora foetida". Journal of Biosciences 20 (5): 657–664. doi:10.1007/BF02703305. 
  7. "Carnivorous Plants / Insectivorous Plants". Botanical Society of America. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  8. Flowers of Antique, Philippines

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