Bush Passionfruit

Last updated 16/10/2017

bush passionfruit ground cover

Bush passionfruit, or passiflora foetida, is a relative of cultivated passionfruit and native to Central and South America. It was introduced into Australia around 1880 and has since become an invasive species, extremely common across the top end of Australia. It’s a creeping, scrambling vine, often found growing over and around other plants and trees, but can also be found as a ground cover. Sometimes thin and scraggly, sometimes dense and lush, depending on conditions. It can grow in arid conditions but prefers some water. It prefers plenty of sun so usually isn’t found in dense forests. The scientific name foetida is Latin for stinking, apparently because the plant emits a strong odour when damaged. I haven’t actually noticed any strong smells when foraging for the fruit.

bush passionfruit ripe fruit

bush passionfruit on excavator


Bush Passionfruit produce fruit at various times of the year. The fruit are initially green, turning yellow when ripe. The fruit are encased in a unique net which makes the species easy to identify. This feature, along with the fact that they are so common, makes them a good bush tucker for amateurs like me to go out and try. The fruit contain black seeds and a sweet tangy pulp, both of which are edible. The taste is similar to cultivated passionfruit, maybe slightly milder. The unripe green fruit are supposedly poisonous and the leaves and stems can irritate skin although I have never experienced any problem. Another source indicates it’s only the net around the fruit that is poisonous.

Bush Passionfruit opened, Northern Territory

Bush Passionfruit with net around it, northern territory

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See also

Boab Tree


Ruby Saltbush


Lady Apple


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13 replies »

  1. Was recently voted at a Weed Forum as one of the worst weeds of the Kimberley. Is rapidly taking over the Dampier Peninsular spread by birds, us humans and vehicles. SADLY it is edible and quite tasty.

  2. Thank you 🙂 We recently moved into a house in Borroloola NT and I have wondered what it was that was growing in our yard…Today I took the plunge and opened one and had a fair idea it was related somehow to a Passionfruit. After reading this I’m taking a plunge and going to taste one.

    • Borroloola ay, you’re in pretty remote country, interesting part of oz I reckon. I caught a nice barra there. Did you taste the fruit? Any good?

      • Stephanie, rip them out but wear gloves. The sap may be toxic to people. Also bin and bag any ripe fruit so the seeds don’t spread.

        From the Qld Govt Biosecurity site:

        Environmental Impact
        Stinking passionflower (Passiflora foetida) is regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia.

        Other Impacts
        Stinking passionflower (Passiflora foetida) is also a weed of crops and pastures in northern Australia. While its ripe fruit are edible, its leaves contain cyanic acid and are thought to be poisonous to people and livestock.


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