Where did lilikoi originate?
I love lilikoi, it’s my favorite fruit. Have you ever heard of lilikoi? Passion fruit then? They’re the same plant, but Lilikoi is the Hawaiian name... and also the first time I was introduced to the fruit, hence why I call it Lilikoi. Either name, the tart fruit is delicious. If you’ve never tried lilikoi (or passion fruit) then I highly suggest you do so. It’s tough to get your hands on it if you’re outside the grow zone. Sometimes you can find it in a high end market type store for $4 a fruit, but I wouldn’t recommend that because sometimes you get a fruit that has no seeds, and it’s the seeds you eat, so you would be spending $4 on disappointment. I suggest going to Hawaii and picking one off a vine… I know, that’s a little more than the $4 you’d risk at the store, but the trip would be worth it.
Lilikoi is a sprawling vine plant, and honestly, it’s basically a weed on Maui. It grows like crazy and is all over the island. I actually saw the healthiest, largest sprawling plant I’ve ever seen on the side of the road taking over a small grove of trees. I’m sure the trees weren’t too happy about it, but I thought it was wonderful!
The flowers are also incredible. They are beautiful and many people enjoy the plant for it’s flowers and don’t care much about the fruit. The flowers are only open for a single day, so it’s important the bees make their way to the plant in order to pollinate the stunning flower and allow the plant to create a tasty fruit.
Upon researching lilikoi, it seems the purple variety came to the Hawaiian islands first. Purple lilikoi was brought over from Australia in the 1880’s, but originated in Brazil. The yellow variety didn’t show up on the Hawaiian islands until 1923. The yellow variety is thought to have been developed in Australia, and is a tropical plant whereas the purple is subtropical.
If you ever get the chance to try passion fruit or lilikoi, I suggest you do so… unless of course you don’t like tart fruit, then in that case, you might skip it, but know you’re missing out.