Passiflora mollissima | ‘Banana Passionfruit’, ‘Taxo’ | 25 seeds
Passiflora mollissima (syn. Murucuia mollissima, Tasconia mollissima) is a captivatingly flowered, fast-growing perennial climbing vine originating from Brazil. One of the so-called ‘Banana Passionfruits’ (or ‘Curuba’ – a group of roughly sixty or so South American Passiflora species mostly preferring to grow at higher elevations in cloud forest), mollissima is now naturalised to many other countries, including Asia, South Africa and parts of the Pacific. It’s commonly known as ‘Banana Passion Flower’, ‘Banana Passionfruit’, ‘Banana Poke’ and ‘Taxo’ and is popularly used to flavour drinks and foodstuffs, such as ice cream.
A smoothly fuzzy, blue-green vine which can reach up to approximately seven and a half metres in diameter, the plant puts out large numbers of attractive, apricot-pink-red flowers between the summer and autumn. Despite the beauty of its blooms, the foliage can be considered toxic and so we don’t recommend growing this species around young children or inquisitive pets, just in case… The yellow, oval-shaped fruit, however, is tasty and quite harmless, causing the seeds to be spread widely by hungry birds, humans and pigs.
Mollissima grows naturally in forest habitats at an altitude of between roughly six hundred and two thousand metres – reportedly doing especially well between approximately twelve hundred and eighteen hundred metres, in areas of high rain. It’s easily cultivated in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10, requiring full sun to partial shade and a well-drained, mildly acidic to neutral soil. Germination is often greatly improved by pre-treatment (for example, a twenty-four-hour soak in water). Space young plants a minimum of two and a half metres apart to allow them ample room to develop properly.
Passiflora species are rather drought tolerant and can become ‘agricultural weeds’ when allowed to spread unhindered. It is therefore advisable to regularly prune these plants, as well as to train them onto fences or trellis’ to limit expansive growth. One more tip: Watch out for caterpillars and nematodes – they love all Passiflora!
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced