First and foremost there is such a thing. We have one growing on our property now. It is the same genus as the lilikoi or passionfruit, but it is not the same species. Giant lilikoi also known as giant passionfruit or Giant Granadillas has the scientific name Passiflora quadrangularis.
You can see above, the giant lilikoi is just that, GIANT. The reason we started growing it is because we love lilikoi, and what could be better than a giant one, right? When in season, I make lilikoi jelly, it’s my husband’s favorite of all the jellies I make. Making jelly requires individually cutting a lot of lilikoi and scooping out the pulpy seeds. Imagine (at least this is what I thought), a giant lilikoi filled with copious amounts of pulpy seed. I was excited at the prospect. Instead of scooping 100 lilikoi, I could cut 5 and have the same amount pulp for jelly. Well it didn’t quite work out that way. But don’t worry, in some regard, it came out better.
This is what the giant lilikoi looks likes on the inside. Yes, there still is a pulpy seed center, but surrounding it, is a fleshy outer core. When ripe it can be cut just like a melon. We tried one for the first time about a week ago, and I am excited to report it was delicious. To me it tasted just like a pear, my husband thought it tasted like honeydew melon.
Above is a picture of some of the fruits growing on a vine. The vine currently is growing over one of our avocado trees. It’s such a large fruit that this is working out quite well as they hang nicely. Ripe, the lilikoi turns a slight orange, just slightly. We’ve waited way too long on many of them and they just rot. You can eat them green and cook it much like a squash or green papaya.
I did scoop the center out and juiced it to see what it tasted like. It was not as tart as a regular lilikoi and tasted a little like an orange to me, but milder.
The flower of the lilikoi is so exotic. The giant one is even more so. I would definitely recommend this plant to the home gardener. Right now our vine has about 10 lilikoi in various stages of development. You do need something to hang your vine on, because fruit on the ground tend to rot faster. It’s perfect for our climate in Hawaii, although it doesn’t like flooding, so don’t plant it in any area that can be prone to that. It grows best from seed, but you can propagate it from cuttings. Typically it takes a couple of weeks to germinate, but can take longer in colder temperatures. There are ways to prepare your seeds to help propagate it better – soaking the seed the 48 hours and scraping the seed with a little sandpaper before planting it said to help the process. We’ll try growing some here to see how quickly we can get them to sprout. But truth be told, one vine is plenty for us, it’s a little like a Jack and the beanstalk vine, luckily we have a large avocado tree for it to grow on.Follow my blog