Passiflora foetida (common names: wild passion fruit, bush passion fruit, marya-marya, wild water lemon, stinking passionflower, love-in-a-mist or running pop is a species of passion flower that is native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and much of South America.
It has been introduced to tropical regions around the world, such as India, Southeast Asia and Hawaii. It is a creeping vine like other members of the genus, and yields an edible fruit.
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 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.
In the Philippines, the fruit of Passiflora foetida are known colloquially as marya-marya (‘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.
It is a creeping vine like other members of the genus, and yields an edible fruit. 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. Whether or not it gains nourishment from its prey is uncertain, and it is currently considered a protocarnivorous plant.
Health benefits of wild passion fruit:
1. Delicious, wild passion fruit is a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. 100 g fruit contains about 97 calories.
2. The fruit is an excellent source of dietary fiber. 100 g fruit pulp contains 10.4 g or 27% of fiber.
3. Wild passion fruit is good in vitamin-C, providing about 30 mg per 100 g. Vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant.
4. The fruit carries very good levels of vitamin-A (provides about 1274 IU per 100 g), and flavonoid antioxidants such as ß-carotene and cryptoxanthin-ß.
5. Vitamin-A also required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids may help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
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