Cultivation of Passion Fruit in Karbi Anglong

The passion fruit commonly known as “Lata bael” known for its medicinal value is getting popular

The passion fruit commonly known as “Lata bael” known for its medicinal value is getting popular in the district of Karbi Anglong, Assam. The Department of Agriculture is taking initiative for large scale cultivation of passion fruit through Self passionfruitHelp Groups and various NGO’s of the district and also in the Govt. farms. Passion Fruit has intense aromatic flavour and amazing nutritional as well as medicinal properties, a high content of vitamin A and C. It is also rich in nutrients like Potassium, Calcium and Iron etc.

The passion fruit has hundreds of medicinal properties that have been used through out the history. The natural chemicals in passion fruit are known to lower blood pressure, and cure asthma. The fruit and its leaves also work as sedative, helping to induce sleep and calm nervousness or other mood disorders. Modern science has observed that passion fruit extracts can kill cancer cells in the developing foetus.
The botanical name of the Passion Fruit is Passiflora edulis Sims (purple passion ); P edulis f. flavicarpa Dey ( yellow passion ); P. quadrangularis L. (giant granadilla) and belongs to family Pasifloraceae.
The origin of passion fruit is American tropics and is introduced and grown in most tropical and sub tropical parts of the world. Passion Fruit is important commercially in Australia, Hawaii, South Africa and Brazil.
In India passion fruit is grown in northern as well as in southern India. The yellow form was unknown in India until few decades ago when it was introduced from Sri Lanka and proved well adapted in our climatic conditions. It was quickly approved due to its more pronounced flavor than the purple passion and producing regular crop within a year of planting.

The Passion Fruit is a shallow rooted, woody, perennial, climbing by means of tendrils. The purple and yellow passion fruit have tri-lobed leaves 10-18 cm long with finely toothed margins. The giant granadilla has rounded – oblong leaves 10- 20 cm long and its stem is characteristically square in cross section. The flower of the yellow passion is showier, with more intense colour. The nearly round or ovoid fruit, has a leathery, smooth, waxy pericarp, ranging in hues from dark purple fruit, with five white specks, to light yellow or pumpkin color within in a cavity more or less filled with an aromatic mass of double walled, arillous sacs filled with orange colored, pulpy juice and as many as 250 small, hard, dark brown or black, pitted seeds. The flavor is appealing, musky, guava like, sub acid to acid.
Climate and Soil:
The yellow passion fruit and giant granadilla that are tropical or near tropical and are grown from near sea level to low hill situations. The purple passion fruit subtropical and can be grown in most plains. . Both forms need protection from high velocity wind. The passion fruit can be grown well in areas receiving annual rainfall of 35 to 100 inch.
Passion fruit prefers a slightly acid soil but the yellow passion fruit will tolerate alkaline soil if adequate micronutrients are added. Passion fruit vines are grown as many soil types but light to heavy sandy loams or medium texture are most suitable. If the soil is too acid, lime must be applied. Good drainage is essential to minimize the incidence of collar rot.

Some of the cultivars of passion fruit are – Australian Purple, Common Purple, Kapoho Selection, Pratt hybrid Selection etc. Besides the Purple and Yellow types a hybrid Kaveri is also cultivated commercially.

All three types of passion fruit can be propagated from seed, which should be fresh (less than one year old). Seed may be sown in flats or pots of sterile soil and kept in a moist place shaded from direct sunlight.
Some growers prefer layers or cuttings of mature wood with 3 to 4 nodes. Purple passion is sometimes grafted on to a yellow passion root stock to alleviate nematode and disease problems affecting the root system of purple passion fruit.
For a balanced vegetative growth and fruit production supply of 500 kg N, 100kg P2O5 and 500 kg K2O /ha per year is required. Magnesium as well as essential micronutrient (manganese, copper, zinc and iron) mixer is also recommended for better fruit quality. Fertilizer should be applied in early spring before growth begins.
In some areas of India vines bear fruit throughout the year but peak periods are August – December and March – May. Approximately 3.5 to 7.0 kg of fruit per plant can be harvested from yellow passion vine per year from second year of planting.
Passion fruit juice is a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and carotenoids (vitamin A). It is rich –flavored and strongly, but pleasantly aromatic. The undiluted juice is highly concentrated but is an excellent additive to other fruit juices, or it may be drunk as such if water and sugar are added to the taste. Fruit of the purple passion (sweeter and less acid than the yellow passion) may be eaten by itself.
Passion fruit juice can be boiled down to a concentrate which is used in making sauce, gelatin desserts, candy, ice cream, shorbet, cake icing, cake filling, cold fruit soup or in cocktails. The seeded pulp is made into jelly or is combined with pineapple or tomato in making jam.
Medicinal uses:
There is currently a revival of interest in the pharmaceutical industry and use of ghycoside passiflorine, especially from P. incarnata L. as a sedative or tranquilizer. Italian chemist s has been able to extract passiflorine from the air-dried leaves of P. edulis.

[Sanjib Ranjan Borah]

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