Common Name: Wild maracuja, Bush passion fruit,Marya-marya, Wild water lemon, Stinking passionflower, Love-in-a-mist or Running pop
Scientific Name: Passiflora foetida L.
Local Name: Dhaagandu' Kekuri
Dhivehi Name: ދާގަނޑުކެކުރި
Passiflora foetida 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, and can be seen in Maldives. It is a creeping vine like other members of the genus, and yields an edible fruit. The specific epithet, foetida, means "stinking" in Latin and refers to the strong aroma emitted by damaged foliage. 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. Passiflora 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. Whether or not it gains nourishment from its prey is uncertain, and it is currently considered a protocarnivorous plant. This passion flower tolerates arid ground, but favours moist areas. It is known to be an invasive species in some areas. This plant is also a widely grown perennial climber.
Passiflora foetida's facts
Passiflora foetida flower is also considered a weed of crops and pastures. It contains cyanic acid and is suspected to be poisonous to livestock.
If under-ripe fruit is eaten, it can be toxic to humans.
Passiflora foetida's Behavior & Ecology
Passiflora foetida is common along roadsides, forest margins, agricultural fields and coastal woodlands. Succeeds in warm temperate to tropical areas. Passiflora foetida require a temperature no lower than around 16°c when they are flowering in order to ensure fruit set. This plant requires a humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil and a position in dappled shade. Prefers a circumneutral soil, disliking very acid or very alkaline conditions. Passiflora species tend to flower and fruit more freely when grown in soils of only moderate fertility. This species is considered to be a weed in many parts of the tropics. An extremely variable and widespread plant, it has a very long list of synonyms. Plants are very tolerant of pruning and can be cut back to ground level if required to rejuvenate the plant. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Passiflora foetida's Reproduction
Seeds obtained by spontaneous self-pollination, induced self-pollination, geitonogamous pollination and natural pollination were viable and the major germination percetage ocurred 2 months after sowing. The plant can flower and produce fruit all year round.
Passiflora foetida's Relationship with Humans
The fruits are roughly the size of a ping pong ball and contain a bluish-white pulp that is mildly sweet and delicately flavored. Young leaves and plant tips are also edible. Not known use as medicinal plant in Maldives, but has been used in traditional medicine in some countries. Dry leaves are used in tea in Vietnamese folk medicine to relieve sleeping problems, as well as treatment for itching and coughs. 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 plant is drunk to treat colds and chest coughs. It is also used in the treatment of tuberculosis, worms, and for coughs and colds. Fluid, pressed from the leaves and stem, is used to improve fertility in women. The root is antispasmodic. The leaves are crushed in water and the solution drunk as an antidote to the bite of the Papuan Black Snake. The leaves, combined with those of Erythrina variegata, are mashed and their juice extracted then drunk in order to induce sleep or to treat sleeping disorders. An infusion of the leaves is used for healing wounds. Freshed young leaves are mashed and then rubbed on to the wound of a snake bite. The leaf contains substances that have possible antimicrobial activity.