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Passion fruit leaves are dark green, large and have a whitish underside. They can be either three or five lobed depending on the variety. The deeply lobed leaves of the Passion fruit vine have a spear-like shape and are finely toothed.
Passion fruit leaves are available year-round.
Passion fruit leaves are not as well-known as the fruit borne from the same plant. Botanically known as Passiflora incarnate, the Passion fruit vine earned its name from the Bible. The flower of the Passion fruit vine has been said to represent various aspects of the Christian crucifixion story, which is referred to as the Passion.
Passion fruit leaves contain vitamin A and niacin.
Passion fruit leaves can be used as a leafy vegetable in salads or as a substitute for spinach in quiches or pastas. The dried leaves are used for calming teas and herbal remedies.
For centuries in the Amazon, Passion fruit leaves were used in a poultice for cuts and bruises as well as in teas to treat insomnia. During the mid-1800s in the Southern US the leaves were used for headaches and general pain, in addition to colic, epilepsy and convulsions.
The edible Passion fruit that we know today originated in the Amazon rain forest along the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Amazonians have been using Passion fruit leaves for medicinal purposes for centuries as a sedative and pain reliever. By the 20th century Passion fruit had become naturalized throughout most of the sub-tropical and tropical regions of the world. Another name for Passiflora incarnate is ‘Maypop’ which refers to the fruit it bears, the time of year they ripen and the sound the immature fruit makes when squeezed between the thumb and fingers.