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    Passionfruit

Below is an extract from a pollination research paper prepared by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).  To download the document, simply click on the image on the left of this screen.

The purple passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) is mostly self-compatible.  On the other hand, the yellow passionfruit (Passiflora edulis Sims f. flavicarpa Degener) is almost entirely self-incompatible and requires cross-pollination with another cultivar to set seeds and fruit (Souza et al. 2004). 

The pollen is heavy and sticky, making wind pollination ineffective (Souza et al. 2004) thus pollen transfer must occur via pollinating insects or manual hand pollination where populations of pollinating insects are insufficient (Snow 1982).  McGregor (1976) states that honey bees and carpenter bees (Xylocopa sonorina) are the primary pollinators of passionfruit; when abundant the carpenter bee is a more efficient pollinator due to its foraging behaviour and larger size.  Unfortunately however, carpenter bees are not strong enough in numbers or are nonexistent in some areas, whereas honey bees can be established in strong colonies almost anywhere and are still able to pollinate reasonably effectively.

In Australian passionfruit crops, honey bees are the primary agent used in the transfer of pollen (QLD.DPI 2009) with recommended beehive densities of 2-3 hives per hectare (DAF 2005).  Pollination of passionfruit by bees has also gained in importance with anecdotal observation by various growers in Queensland that fruit set is enhanced when hives are located nearby (Murad 2009).

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