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Maracuja or passion fruit? There is a lot of discussion about the correct name of the tropical fruit. While some believe that the fruits are the same, others argue that there is a difference between them. However, as is almost always the case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, because in Europe the terms “passion fruit” and “maracuja” are often used synonymously for both fruits.


The name "maracuja" in Portuguese is a loan word from the Tupi language, which dates back to before the conquest of South America and the Portuguese colonial period. Translated, "Mara" means food and "Cuja" means vessel. The term "passion fruit" goes back to the Christian immigrants of South America. Because they thought they could symbolically recognize the Passion of Christ in the blossoms of Passiflora (passion flower). According to the view of the time, for example, the ten petals should stand for the apostles (without Judas and Peter) and the five stamens symbolize the five wounds of Christ.


Even if the names of the tropical fruits are used synonymously, differences can still be identified, because in Germany there is a difference between passion fruit and passion fruit. This can be determined by the following points:

  • botanical name
  • Look
  • taste
  • Botanical designation

Both fruits and both plants belong to the genus of passion flowers (Passiflora). The species "Passiflora edulis" includes different varieties and forms. The fruits of the purple granadilla (Passiflora edulis forma edulis) and yellow granadilla (Passiflora edulis forma flavicarpa) forms are commercially available. The term "form", abbreviated f., represents a rank below the species in the botanical system. It is typically used for visual deviations.


The main difference between the two fruits is their appearance, which is already indicated by the names purple and yellow granadilla. F. flavicarpa has a brown-purple skin that becomes wrinkled as it matures. The smooth shell of f. edulis is yellow. Other distinguishing features are the size and shape of the fruit.

Purple granadillas at most reach the size of a hen's egg and have a spherical to oval shape. The yellow fruits, on the other hand, are significantly larger. They are between eight and twelve centimeters long and have an oval to ovoid shape.
There are many seeds inside the fruit, because the fruit is botanically a berry. They are surrounded by a juicy yellow-orange jelly. The color of the seeds is different for the two fruits. F. edulis has black seeds, f. flavicarpa has brown seeds.

taste and ingredients

Taste is discussable. It also depends on the degree of maturity and growth conditions of the plants. Therefore, only general statements can be made here. The fruits of the yellow granadilla, the passion fruit, whose acidity is higher, are considered to be somewhat less aromatic than those of the purple granadilla, the passion fruit. This may be one reason why many German supermarkets tend to sell the small, wrinkled fruits, even though the yellow fruits are said to be sweeter.

There is no significant difference in the ingredients. In addition to sugar, the juice or jelly of the fruit contains plenty of vitamin C as well as niacin (formerly vitamin B3) and riboflavin (formerly vitamin B2).

tip: To really taste the difference, try both fruits.

confusion in trade

Whether you buy maracujas or passion fruit in stores often depends on the supplier. In German supermarkets, however, the following terminology for tropical fruits has become common:

  • yellow fruit = passion fruit
  • purple-brown fruit = passion fruit

The violet-brown passion fruit can usually be seen on finished products that are sold in stores, as these look better than the yellow tropical fruit. So it is quite possible that the small passion fruit can be seen on the packaging, although the product contains passion fruit. This fact may not be so noticeable in the taste, but it often causes confusion. It is also suspected that this advertising ploy has led to the fact that the name "maracuja" is more common than "passion fruit".

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