Tuesday, April 12, 2011

History of passion fruit

The edible commercial species of passion fruit originated on the edges of South America rainforests in the Amazon region of Brazil and possibly in Paraguay and northern Argentina.

The passion fruit was cultivated by Inca in what is now know as Peru in about AD 1000.

It has been carried to all parts of the world. In many places it is grown only as a hot-house plant.

Its unusual flowers inspired the Spaniards to name it passion plant.

Passion fruit was given its name by Catholic missionaries in South America. The corona threads of the passion flower were seen as a symbol of the crown of thorns, the five stamens for wounds, the five petals and five sepals as the ten apostles (excluding Judas and Peter) and the three stigmas for the nails on the cross.

Native Americans used the flowers to heal bruises and wounds, calm and encourage sleep, and help settle the nerves.

American Indians used the leaves and the root as a poultice for injuries and boils and made a tea to calm the nerves.

The first written record of the medicinal use date back thousands of years, and in Peru, passion fruit has long been mashed and combined with water to make a refreshing, nutritious drink.

In popular usage, the fruit has been associated with the other ‘passion’ that is ‘sexual attraction’ and so has now become a sort of traditional dish or present for Valentine’s Day.
History of passion fruit