This time of the year in Hawaii brings a wonderful array of fragrances emanating from the local flora. While walking through the neighborhoods it is common to see avocado’s, bananas and papaya’s. But none have a fragrance to match that of the Lilikoi plants.
Also known as Passion fruit this sweet-smelling fruit grows along fences and rock walls here on Maui. It is native to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina and there are several varieties, each with a distinctively different exterior appearance. The Golden Passion Fruit is known for its glossy yellow color as well as its large size, which can approach the circumference of a small grapefruit. There is the dark purple variety that is smaller than a lemon but is less acidic than the yellow, and it has a much stronger fragrance.
The fence between us and our neighbor came alive with a passion fruit vine this summer and the green fruits are turning yellow and the sweet fragrance fills the yard. Until the unusual flower emerges, this vine looks like one of the many varieties found in yards and fields.
First, you are drawn to the unusual flower – yellow, purple, white. They bloom for about a week before the fruit forms. The fruit grows as a elliptical, green orb. but as it ripens, then comes the fragrance.