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Granadina (Passiflora subpeltata) Classification, Uses, Distribution

Granadina, or Passiflora subpeltata, is a slender and vigorous climber that can reach 10 feet high. 

The plant climbs the surrounding vegetation, attaching itself by tendrils, and is characterized by white flowers and yellow-green fruits. 

Passiflora subpeltata is cultivated as an ornamental plant due to its unique flowers and can grow up to 5 meters long. 

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Tracheophyta
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Order: Malpighiales
  • Family: Passifloraceae
  • Genus: Passiflora
  • Species: Passiflora subpeltata
  • Other Names: Wildegrenadella, Garan-tsinoa, White passionflower, and Wild Granadilla 

Nativity and Distribution

Granadina is native to Mexico and parts of South America, such as Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela, and Colombia.

The plant is also common in the following areas:

  • Sri Lanka
  • India
  • Bangladesh
  • Haiti
  • Hawaii
  • Philippines
  • East Africa
  • South Africa
  • Cuba
  • Madagascar
  • Pacific Islands, such as Tonga and Hawaii

Physical Appearance

Granadina plant has pale green leaves and white flowers
Granadina has pale green leaves and white flowers. Image: Canva/ismadizikri
  • Fruit: Pale green when immature and yellowish when ripe and mature. 
  • Flowers: White flowers that are 4.5 to 5 cm in diameter.
  • Leaves: Hairless leaves that are pale green with whitish or bluish-green undersides.
  • Stem: Stems are slender, hairless, and grow up to 5m long.
  • Roots: It has a taproot system.

The white flowers of Passiflora subpeltata are relatively small, measuring 4 to 5.5 cm in diameter.

The flowers are simple, with six petals and six very similar sepals. Additionally, they feature five prominent stamens and an ovary topped with three styles and large stigmas.

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The flowering of the white passionflower typically occurs during the spring and summer seasons.

The plant’s fruits are elongated and egg-shaped, ranging from 4 to 6 cm long and 3 to 5 cm wide.

Before they fully mature, these fruits emit a strong, unpleasant odor similar to cyanide, which may serve as a deterrent against small insect pests. 

The plant’s leaves appear shallow and are three-lobed with large stipules produced at the bases of the alternately arranged leaves.

The stems of Passiflora subpeltata are smooth without any hairs or roughness. They produce tendrils that enable the plant to climb and cling to various supports as it grows.

The tendrils emerge directly from the stem, near where the leaf stalks (petioles) are attached.

Adaptive Features

  • The plant’s broad leaves provide a large surface area, allowing excess water to evaporate.
  • Flat leaves help leaves float on the water whenever there is flooding or in ponds to obtain oxygen and air.
  • A spongy tissue in stems and leaves allows the movement of oxygen from the air to the roots.
  • Passiflora subpeltata has elongated stems that deal with low oxygen and changing water levels.
  • The plant has aerenchyma air pockets inside the stems that enable gas exchange by diffusion.
  • The plant grows around trees to reach sunlight for photosynthesis.
  • Granadina stomata are many and open to release excess water.
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Life Cycle/Reproduction/Dispersal

  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Seeds: Elliptical seeds that are surrounded by an aril
  • Climate: Thrives in tropical and subtropical climates
  • Dispersal: Seed is spread by animals and birds that eat the fruit

After pollination, Granadina produces egg-shaped fruits with numerous small seeds measuring around 4.5mm in length and 2.5mm in width.

Birds eat the fruits, dispersing the seeds and spreading the plant to new locations. However, the plant’s seeds have a hard outer coat that can slow down and reduce germination rates. 

In addition to reproducing sexually through seeds, Passiflora subpeltata can be propagated asexually using stem cuttings. 

This method allows quick plant multiplication and can shorten the time to flowering, which normally takes at least two years when grown from seed.

The new plants produced from these cuttings are genetically identical clones of the parent plant.

Uses

Passiflora subpeltata has various uses, including:

1. It Used as an Ornamental

    White passionflower is used as an ornamental plant for its beautiful white flowers
    White passionflower is used as an ornamental plant for its beautiful white flowers. Image: Canva/danako

    The plant is grown as an ornamental due to its attractive white flowers.

    2. Used as a Medicine

      According to ScienceDirect.com, Passiflora subpeltata is a rich source of various secondary metabolites. 

      Secondary metabolites derived from this plant are commonly used for their potential therapeutic applications, particularly in treating cancer and as mosquito repellents.

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      Environmental Impact

      The plant affects the environment in the following ways:

      Invades Native Habitats

          Granadina has recently been designated as an environmental weed in one Natural Resource Management region within Australia.

          Although grown as an ornamental, it has escaped cultivation in areas outside its native range and invaded habitats such as woodlands, roadsides, river banks, and bush clumps.

          Toxic to Animals

            The plant contains cyanogenic compounds toxic to humans and livestock if consumed in large quantities. 

            Unlike many other passionfruit species, the fruit of Passiflora subpeltata is not edible and should not be eaten.

            Livestock such as cattle, pigs, and occasionally sheep can suffer from poisoning after consuming Passiflora subpeltata. Symptoms of this poisoning include:

            • Uncoordinated movements and staggering
            • Convulsions and muscle tremors
            • Digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation

            Control

            The following control methods are effective against Passiflora subpeltata:

            Mechanical Control

              Hand pulling or grubbing isolated vines is necessary to manage the plant’s growth. 

              It should be done when the soil is moist, and removing the whole crown from the soil is important.

              Chemical Control

                According to Queensland Government Publications, the following herbicides have been reported to control Granadina:

                • Triclopyr 200 g/L + picloram 100 g/L (e.g. Slasher) or Triclopyr 200 g/L + picloram 100 g/L + aminopyralid 25 g/L
                • Triclopyr 240 g/L + picloram 120 g/L
                • Triclopyr 300 g/L + Picloram 100 g/L
                • Triclopyr 300 g/L + Picloram 100 g/L + aminopyralid 8 g/L 
                • Glyphosate 360 g/L