Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima

  • Passiflora tripartita
  • Seedling, Lower Hutt. Dec 2006.
  • Hayward Scenic Reserve, Lower Hutt. Dec 2006.
  • Stipule. Lower Hutt. Dec 2006.


Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima


Passiflora: Passionflower

Common Name(s)

banana passionfruit


Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima (Kunth) Holm-Niels. & P.Jørg.



Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic


Terrestrial. Typically found in shrublands, forest margins, roadsides, wastelands, farm and orchard hedges and domestic gardens. Prefers light gaps on fertile soil, In cooler areas regular frosts and occasional snowfalls appear to limit the plants growth


Vigorous vine, shoots densely hairy with large persistent stipules. Leaves 3-lobed up to 14 cm long, densely tomentose beneath, at least some hairs above. Flowers are pink with long hypanthium (up to 9 cm) and short petals. Fruit up to about 10 cm long, obovoid, green ripening to orange-yellow and containing edible orange pulp with small black seed.

Similar Taxa

Can be distinguished from P. tarminiana by the large persistent stipules, and the long hypanthium on the flower. P. mixta is also similar, but has salmon-pink flowers and a pubescent hypanthium. From var. azuayensis (q.v.) it is distinguished by having 'leaves moderately to densely pubescent on upper surface' (Heenan & Sykes 2003); var. azuayensis has 'leaves glabrous to glabrate on upper surface' (ibid.)


January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Main Flower Colour

Red / Pink

Other Flower Colour


Year Naturalised



Tropical N. South America

Reason For Introduction

Life Cycle Comments
Perennial. Few seedlings are present owing to the parent plants combinations of low germination levels (around 25%), high seedling mortality and shading (Buxton 1994).

Reproduces from seed and can grow from stem fragments.

Moderate seed numbers are produced by the plant. Seed accumulates in the soil seed bank over time, ensuring continuous germination (Williams & Buxton 1995).

The fruit is eaten by pigs, possums, kiore, ship rats, Norway rats, and many birds, however it is not known whether the seed remains viable after consumption.

The plant is intolerant to deep shade and reprouts after grazing and physical damage. Requires medium soil fertility.

References and further reading

Heenan, PB; Sykes, WR 2003. Passiflora (Passifloraceae) in New Zealand: a revised key with notes on distribution. NZ J Botany 41: 217-221. DOI: 10.1080/0028825X.2003.9512842

This page last updated on 25 Feb 2016

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