The most important variety in Kenya is the purple passion Fruit Passiflora edullis which is grafted on yellow passion Passiflora flavicarpa. Purple passion fruits have deep purple skin colour at maturity. The Yellow passion, Sweet passion, Banana passion, and Giant passion are also other varieties grown in Kenya.
The main varieties are described below.
- Purple passion fruit
- Yellow passion fruit
- Sweet passion fruit
- Giant passion fruit
- Banana passion fruit
Description of various varieties
- Purple Passion: (Passiflora edulis)
It is the most important in fruit juice industry and to a certain extent in fresh exports. It grows well in cooler temperatures at an elevation of between 1200m-1800m east of the rift and up to 2000m west of the rift. The fruit is round or oval, 4-6 cm diameter and changes its colour from green to deep purple when ripe. The flower is outstanding for both fresh and canned or frozen. Ripe fruits drop from the vines.
- Yellow Passion: (Passiflora edulis var flavicarpa)
It is much more vigorous and better adopted to tropical lowland than purple passion fruit. The pulp is very aromatic but rather acidic. The average fruit is slightly larger than that of the purple and turns from green to yellow at maturity. Ripe fruits drop from vines. The variety is mainly used as rootstock for grafting purple variety, due to its resistance to soil borne pathogens.
- Sweet Passion or Sweet granadilla: (Passiflora ligularis)
It prefers cooler conditions for optimum and elevations of above 1500m. The fruit is of excellent flavor and turns from blue to orange-brown at the time of ripening. The whitish, aromatic pulp is enclosed in a hard shell, which can stand transportation without damage.
- Giant Passion or Granilla: (Passiflora quadrangularis)
It requires tropical climate and grows best from sea level upto 1700m.It grows to a length of 30m and fruits turn from green to yellow when mature. Fruits are eaten fresh and appearance resembles a vegetable marrow.
- Banana Passion: (Passiflora mollissima)
Grows at higher elevations, colder conditions above 1500mm above sea level. It also has an edible pulp.