Passion Fruit Maracuja and Leaffooted Bugs Who Love Them

Passion Fruit (Passiflora edulis) or Maracuya. Images of the passion fruit arbor, bugs, fruits and seeds.

Our favorite flavor of yogurt here in Costa Rica is Passion Fruit or Maracuja (mare-ah-coo-ya). We were told that the passion fruit vine was easy to grow. So we sampled about 50 different fruits (not a hard job) and dried out some seeds from one of our favorites. There are two different types, Golden and Purple. We chose to grow Golden. Passion Fruit is said to have qualities that reduce inflammation, help with depression issues and reduce anxiety. So eat up.

Making the Arbors

We made two different kinds of arbors, one with store bought fencing and nails on wood posts and one using only bamboo and twine. The bamboo one cost us virtually nothing to build and will simply rot away after two years but is more difficult to pull fruit from without disturbing the rest of the vine. The post and fencing arbor makes it easy to harvest fruits plus it looks like a big chia head in the garden, but it is not cost effective.

Bamboo Arbor for PassionfruitPassion Fruit Arbor

It was about 6 months before we started seeing flowers and then the fruit came. It seemed to take forever once the little green balls started to grow. I watched everyday because I really wanted to eat it. As the fruits got bigger I noticed that a weird insect started coming around.

Passion Fruit Flower Golden Type

Passion Fruit Vine

The Bugs

These insects have multiple colors and multiple designs. When I looked them up online I found very few with similar colors or similar designs but the closest examples were Passion Fruit Bugs,Leaffooted Bugs or Flag Winged Bugs (Paryphes, Coridae or Leptoglossus Zonatus).

Bugs Passion Fruit Vine

Flag Winged Bug

Orange Flag Wing

Colored Flag Wing Colored Flag Wing

Leptoglossus Zonatus

Eating the Fruit

The Passion Fruit shell is hard but with some effort you can bite in to it or pull it apart with your hands to get to the coated seeds inside. It is at its peak ripeness when it changes to a pale yellow color. The juicy seeds are edible and you can simply slurp up everything, add it to your smoothie or cook it into a jelly. When making jelly we strain out the seeds after cooking so the jelly has a smooth texture but still has the wonderful flavor of passion fruit.

Fruit of the Passion Vine
Other Fruits and Foods of Costa Rica

15 comments on “Passion Fruit Maracuja and Leaffooted Bugs Who Love Them”

  1. Diana Wind, RDN (@GardenCuizine) Reply

    thanks for this post. we have our first arbor full of green passion fruits here in NJ and as the green fruits are getting bigger, I’m noticing weird insects too!! I’ll have to get a closer look and see if they are the same as yours, but they sure look the same. I’m hoping they don’t eat much before the fruits ripen! We’re organic gardeners… realize this post was several years ago, but if you’re still there, did you have to spray to control the bugs?

  2. David Larkin Reply

    I ate these as a teenager growing up in the Panama Canal, and just recently came across some in a grocery store here in the state of Kansas. My question is can the fruit survive in winter weather? I took a few seeds from the maracuja and placed it on a wet paper towel inside of a plasic bowl to serve as a type of green house atleast until they sprout up. I was thinking about planting them afterwards, but was concerned whether they’d survive in our harsh winters here. Thank you much!

    • Kimberly Beck Reply

      Hi David, we have seen passion fruit in Florida but never as far North as Kansas. The colder the climate is the less fruit you will get. So maybe you start a plant by Mother’s Day and you may have flowers by end of season but probably not ripe fruit. Ours have taken 9 months to fruit. Hope this helps.

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  5. Marilyn Braswell Reply

    the plants grow wild here in Arkansas. We call them May Pops as kids and always enjoyed eating them off the vine in the fall. Enjoying the information and pictures of Costa Rica.

    • Kimberly Reply

      May Pops is a very cute name. I hearby officially change the name of ours to May Pops. Thank you Marilyn!

  6. Brian Evans Reply

    Do those bugs fly? They almost look like they have wings. Very cool lookin’.

  7. Vince Reply

    Thank you for sharing the passion fruit. I had it growing well and fruiting but our freeze killed it here in cen fla. It is such an amazing fruit.

    • Kimberly Reply

      We are lucky to not have to endure a frost here. Some days though we talk about how nice it would be to play in the snow!

  8. cindy Reply

    How beautiful..what totally marvelous bugs, you do live in paradise! Great bug pictures..stunning!

    • Kimberly Reply

      Thank you Cindy. It feels like paradise “almost” all the time. Thanks for the comment and hope you can come down and see these for yourself.

  9. Marlene & Caryn Reply

    WE HAD THIS GROWING IN fLORIDA AS A VINE, IT SPROUTED UP EVERYWHERE AND GREW WELL ON OUR FENCE AND A FEW TRELLIS’S THAT WE PUT THERE FOR SUPPORT. wE HAD NO IDEA THAT IT MADE FRUIT. wE DID GET ONE GREEN BALL ONE TIME AND HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS!! sOMEONE GAVE ME WHAT LOOKS LIKE A RED PASSION VINE AND i DID PLANT IT, BUT NOT SURE IF IT IS TAKING ROOT OR NOT. lOVE YOUR PICTURES!!

    • Kimberly Reply

      M & C – Make sure you give it something to grow on. It doesn’t do well on the ground. Show it to me when we bring some movies to your house and sit on your comfy couch!

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