Passiflora ambigua

Source: Katja Schulz

Passiflora ambigua

Passiflora ambigua or Passion Flower is a very rare Passiflora that grows very fast and becomes very big.

This being said, it is difficult to grow outside of the tropics, it should be grown in a heated greenhouse and in an earth bed as it will not flower in pot.

Passiflora ambigua was already cultivated by the Mayas and the very tasty fruit is still sold in local markets. The plant also serves as food for butterfly larvae.


Passiflora ambigua is a vine with an terete and striated stem.

The petiole is 2-4 cm long, with 2 glands. The leaves are not lobed, oval-oblong, 8-20 cm long and 4.5 to 1 cm wide, coriaceous, entire.

The peduncle is 4-10 cm long, single or in inflorescence with 1-2 flowers. The bracts are oval, 3.5-7 cm long and 3-5 cm wide, entire, with several glands.

The flowers are purple, violet and white, 9-14 cm in diameter and produce a bad smell. The sepals are purple on the inside, greenish-green on the outside, oblong-oval, 3-5 cm long and 1-2 cm wide. The petals are purple, oblong, 3-4 cm long and 0.5-1 cm wide. Corona: 3 or more series of filaments, the outer series 0.7-1.5 cm long, the 2nd series 3-5 cm long, purple and white striped, the outer series 0,1-0,3 cm of long. The ovary is oval and pubescent.

The fruit is orange to dark yellow, oval, 4-14 cm long and 3-12 cm wide, edible. The seeds are ovoid, 0.6-1 cm long and 0.5 cm wide, strongly flattened, dark brown.


  • Ornamental
  • The fruit is edible and very tasty.
  • Medicinal: is used in Belize to treat colds or high blood pressure.


Common names:

Passion Flower, Passion Fruit


Passiflora emiliae


Passiflora: from the Latin passio (Passion) and flos (flower)
Ambigua: from the Latin ambiguus (wavering, hesitating) because Passiflora ambigua is often confused with Passiflora laurifolia


Central America and northern South America. In Belize it typically grows on the Mayan ruins or limestone cliffs.


Rainforest, up to 500 m altitude


USDA zone 9-11



Fertile and well drained


Sun, light


Water every day during the summer


Fertilize every 1-2 weeks during the growing season, monthly during winter


Seed. Cuttings are rarely successful.

Sowing instructions:

  • soak 24 hours in tepid water
  • sow in a moist sowing substrate
  • 25-30 °C
  • germination: a few weeks to a few months