Curuba . It is a climbing plant, with cylindrical stems , oval leaves and attractive flowers . Its fruits have nutritional value. This has become one of the most appreciated tropical fruits .
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- 1 Botanical name
- 2 Origin and distribution
- 3 Description
- 4 varieties
- 5 Climate
- 6 Propagation
- 7 Culture
- 8 Season
- 9 Quality maintenance
- 10 Diseases and pests
- 11 Uses as Food
- 12 Source
Passiflora mollissima Bailey
Origin and distribution
It is native and commonly found in the wild in the Andean valleys of Venezuela and eastern Colombia to Bolivia and Peru . It is believed that they were domesticated shortly before the Spanish conquest.
In 1920 , the “United States Department of Agriculture” received seeds from Guayaquil , Ecuador , and from Bogotá , Colombia. Today it is commonly cultivated and the fruits, which are highly sought after, are regularly sold in local markets.
The vine is grown in California as an ornamental with the name “softleaf passionflower”. It has never been successful in Florida , it is cultivated to some extent in Hawaii and the State of Madras, India .
New Zealand’s climate seems very suitable for her and has been cultivated in the country, more or less commercially, for several decades.
The vine is a vigorous climber at 20 or 23 feet (6-7 m), which has the following characteristics:
Its almost cylindrical stems are densely covered with yellow hairs.
Its leaves with 3 deep lobes 4 inches (7.5-10 cm) long and 2 3/8 to 4 3/4 inches (6-12 cm) wide, are finely toothed and smooth above, gray or velvety yellowish underneath. The stipules are short, thin and curved.
The attractive flower has a tube 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm) long, greenish-gray, often with a red tint, rarely fluffy; the corolla with five sepals oblong intense pink petals are opened to a width of 2 to 3 inches (5-7.5 cm); and a wavy purple crown.
The fruit is oblong or oblong-ovoid, 2 to 4 3/4 inches (5-12 cm) long, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch (3.2-4 cm) wide. The bark is thick, choreous, yellowish-white, or, in one of the variants, dark green and minimally hairy. The pulp (arils) is very aromatic, salmon-colored, sub-acid to acid and rich in flavor, surrounding the small, reticulated, black, flat and elliptical seeds .
In general, the fruit is smaller in Peru than in Colombia and Ecuador . A form called curuba from Quito in Colombia is dark green on the outside, even when fully mature, the apex is abruptly sharp and furrowed, the pulp is dark orange or orange-brown.
This species is in its best environment at altitudes between 6000 and 7200 feet (1800–3200 m) in the Andes , and has adapted well to altitudes of 4,000 to 6,000 feet (1,200-1,800 m) in Hawaii and New Zealand . It can tolerate brief drops in temperature to 28.4 o C (-2 o C).
The vine can be propagated by cuttings, but normally grows from seeds that generally germinate in 10 weeks. The time can be reduced to 5 weeks by preliminary soaking in warm water.
Seedlings can be transplanted when they are 3 months old and must be associated with a 6 1/2 foot (2 meter) high horizontal framework with cross wires 16 inches (40 cm) apart. At a vine spacing of 6.5 feet (2 meters) on each side, there will be 607 plants per acre (1,500 plants / ha).
The least dense planting, having 10 feet (3 m) each way between the vines, and 20 inches (50 cm) between the wires, will give rise to 445 plants per acre (1,100 / ha).
The first harvest will take place in 2 years. With dense spacing, and with good weed control and adequate fertilization, the annual harvest in Colombia will be 200 to 300 fruits per plant, with a total of 200,000 to 303,000 fruits per acre (500,000-750,000 fruits / ha), or around 31,000 to 47,000 pounds per acre (about the same number of kg per ha).
The individual fruits are 2 to 5 1/2 ounces each (approximately 50-150 g).
Pruning has been practiced by some growers, which improves air flow, reduces disease, and facilitates weeding, irrigation, spraying, and harvesting. It produces fruits of larger size but less, and therefore is generally considered to be impractical as size is not as important to the consumer.
In India , the average yield is said to be 40 to 50 fruits per plant in the 6th year after planting.
- There is more or less continuous fruiting throughout the year in Colombia.
- In New Zealand, the crop matures in late March or early April through September or October.
The fruits support the transfer well, and will be kept in good condition in a dry and not too cold environment for a reasonable period of time.
Diseases and pests
- In humid and poorly drained situations, some plantations suffer from nematodes(Meloidogyne sp.).
- The leaves and shoots can be attacked by grasshoppers (Empoasca sp.) And by Dione or Agraulis, vanillae;
- Leaves and fruits can be affected by mites(Tetranychus sp.);
- The larvae of Hepialus sp. invade the flower bud;
- The stems can be pierced by Heteractes sp. and Nyssodrys sp.
- Occasionally the fruits are attacked by the fruit flies. Young shoots are prone to white bad (Asterinia sp.) And anthracnose (Colletotrichum sp.) Can affect the vine and fruit. Borondeficiency causes cracking of the fruits. Sometimes, for physiological reasons, which is not yet fully understood, 50 to 60% of the fruits may fall prematurely.
Uses as Food
- The pulp is eaten fresh, or the juice is filtered, which is not consumed alone, but is used in cold mixed refreshing drinks.
- In Bolivia, the juice, along with brandyand sugar , is served as a cocktail before dinner.
- Colombians strain the pulp to separate the seeds and serve it with milkand sugar, or use it in gelatin desserts .
- In Ecuador, the pulp is converted into ice cream.
- The “New Zealand Department of Agriculture” has developed tempting recipes to encourage the cultivation and use of pulp with seeds as a filling for cakes, and also to make meringue pie, gravy, spiced sauce, jellies, jams and preserves.
- It is also recommended as an ingredient in fruit salads, especially with pineapple, and to mix with whipped cream for dessert, and for cooking and preservation as an ice cream topping.
- Canned juice with sodiumbenzoate as a preservative loses a lot of quality and, therefore, there is still no commercial process.