Monday, July 2, 2012

Jamaican and Regular Liliko'i

The showy lilikoi or passion flower, the common variety. 

Jamaican liliko'i (passionfruit) are considered sweeter and more perfume-y. They have a distinct smell, that seems stronger than regular lilikoi. It's almost like one tastes the smell of the Jamaican liliko'i before eating it. Regular liliko'i tend to be more tart, but in a refreshing way. 

Jamaican liliko'i flower.
Even though the flower is purple, it's not considered a "purple liliko'i."

The skin of the Jamaican liliko'i is much softer, almost fuzzy, unlike the hard glossy shell of the regular liliko'i. It's much easier to bite into a Jamaican liliko'i than a regular lilikoi. 

Jamaican liliko'i at the Maui Fair agricultural booth.
There are also purple liliko'i, which have a reddish fruit, that otherwise tastes the same as a regular yellow liliko'i. 

Jamaican liliko'i is also popular with rats. 

Both seem to be vigorous growers and grow in the wild. Both seem to be resistant to fruit flies. Both make beautiful, showy flowers that look like clematis. 

Path through a vigorous (non Jamaican) liliko'i hedge.

Why are they named passionfruit? The story I've heard is that they looked like the crown of thorns that Christ wore, during his tribulations - the passion of Christ. Other people like DH suggest that passionfruit is an aphrodisiac. It's easy to convince tourists to try liliko'i after they hear that. 

The liliko'i flower is like a crown. 

By the way, vines do wither and die. So if you're making a privacy screen or training them on a trellis, they will eventually lose their leaves and look ugly until they start a new season of growth. I'm not sure how often they fruit - maybe twice a year. I'll try to pay attention this year. Right now, is the first time this year my vines have produced any fruit. I'm starting to see liliko'i fruit around the island - a good place to get some is at the farmer's market. Often Mana Foods has liliko'i, but the standard supermarkets don't carry this fruit at all. 


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