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Morton, J. 1987. Sweet Granadilla. p. 330–331. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.

Sweet Granadilla

Passiflora ligularis Juss.

Ranking close to Passiflora edulis in popular appeal and potential, the sweet granadilla, P. ligularis Juss., is also known as granadilla (Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru); granadilla común (Guatemala); granadilla de China or parchita amarilla (Venezuela); and granaditta (Jamaica).

Giant Grandadilla
Plate XLV: GIANT GRANDADILLA, Passiflora quadrangularis

The vine is a vigorous, strong grower, woody at the base, climbing by tendrils, topping the highest trees, shading out and killing the understory. Its leaves are broadly heart-shaped, pointed at the apex, 3 3/16 to 8 in (8-20 cm) long, 2 3/8 to 6 in (6-15 cm) wide, conspicuously veined, medium-green on the upper surface, pale-green with a bloom on the underside. Spaced along the petiole, are 3 pairs of hairlike glands about 3/8 in (1 cm) long. At the leaf axils, there are paired, leaflike stipules, ovate-oblong and about 1 in (2.5 cm) long and a little over 1/2 in (1.25 cm) wide; more or less finely toothed.

The flowers, sweet and musky in odor, usually 2 to a node, may be 4 in (10 cm) across, on a 1 1/2 in (4 cm) peduncle bearing 3 leaflike, ovate-oblong, pointed bracts, 1 1/2 in (4 cm) long and 1 in (2.5 cm) wide, faintly toothed. The sepals are greenish-white, lanceolate; the petals pinkish white; the filaments, in 2 rows, white, horizontally striped with purple-blue.

The fruit is broad-elliptic, 2 3/8 to 3 in (6-7.5 cm) long, green with purple blush on sunny side and minutely dotted when unripe, orange-yellow with white specks when ripe. The rind is smooth, thin, hard and brittle externally, white and soft on the inside. The pulp (arils) is whitish-yellow or more or less orange, mucilaginous, very juicy, of sprightly, aromatic flavor, and encloses numerous black, flat, pitted, crisp but fairly tender seeds.

Origin and Distribution

The sweet granadilla is the common species of Passiflora ranging from central Mexico through Central America and western South America, through western Bolivia to south-central Peru. Throughout this region, it is popular and abundant in the markets.

It has been grown in Hawaii since late in the 19th Century. In 1916, the United States Department of Agriculture received seeds from Quito, Ecuador. The vine is not suited to California, has been grown in greenhouses in Florida but has never survived for long. Northern gardeners sometimes plant it as a summer ornamental. It is not reported in Guam; may be grown to some extent in New Guinea. Trial plantings in Israel were killed by cold weather. It is cultivated and naturalized in Jamaica and, in recent years, has been blooming and fruiting prolifically in mountainous Haiti.


The sweet granadilla is subtropical, not tropical. In its natural range, it is wild and cultivated at elevations of 3,000 to 8,850 ft (900-2,700 m). In Hawaii, it finds sufficiently cool temperatures at 3,000 ft (900 m). In Jamaica, the vine volunteers freely at altitudes between 3,500 and 4,000 ft (1,000-1,200 m). At 5,000 to 8,200 ft (1,500-2,500 m) in Colombia, the vine fruits well. At higher altitudes, it flourishes and blooms but will not fruit. An elevation of 6, 000 ft (1,828 m), where the clouds descend on peaks in the afternoon, has proven ideal in Haiti. The vine is intolerant of heat. It will do well over the winter in Florida but declines with the onset of hot weather.


Thin, volcanic soils do not discourage the sweet granadilla, providing they are moist. It is naturally adapted to high rainforests.


The sweet granadilla can be grown from seeds or cuttings.

Season and Keeping Quality

There is but one crop per year. In Bolivia, the fruits ripen in May and June. The fruit, despite its hard shell, has poor keeping quality, deteriorating soon after the harvest.


In Haiti, the planted seeds are often devoured by rodents, though the seeds of P. edulis in the same situation have never been disturbed. Squirrels ravage the crop in the forests of Ecuador.

Food Uses

Usually, the fruit is cracked open and the pulp and seeds consumed out-of-hand. For the table, the fruit is cut in half and the contents are eaten with a spoon. The strained juice is much used for making cold drinks and sherbet (ice).

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*

Pulp and Seeds Combined
Moisture 69.9-79.1 g
Protein 0.340-0.474 g
Fat 1.50-3.18 g
Crude Fiber 3.2-5.6 g
Ash 0.87-1.36 g
Calcium 5.6-13.7 mg
Phosphorus 44.0-78.0 mg
Iron 0.58-1.56 mg
Carotene 0.00-0.035 mg
Thiamine 0.00-0.002 mg
Riboflavin 0.063-0.125 mg
Niacin 1.42-1.813 mg
Ascorbic Acid 10.8-28.1 mg

*Analyses made in Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala.