Passion Fruit cultivars entered Taiwan between 1901-07 from Ishikawa Botanical Garden in Japan, originally a Brazilian species. The fruit has multiple names and each one has a special meaning,
(1) 時鐘果, the most common Taiwanese name before 1960, derived from 時計草:
This is the dark purple type, never widely cultivated since the introduction into Taiwan and was left to grow on its own in mountain areas under 1,000 meters altitude, and grew wild it did, complete with various snakes sheltered under its shades. This fruit was once available in Tamsui, sold at roadside stands together with 彈珠汽水 (ラムネ, marble-sealed bottled soda) and other summertime treats.
(2) 百香果 or 100-fragrance fruit:
So called allegedly because its juice tastes like a combination of banana, pineapple, lemon, strawberry, star fruit, and guava, etc. Also, 百香BaiHsiang maybe a phonetic translation of "passion". A more credible theory, however, is that in 1960, Taiwan Pineapple Corp started marketing canned passion fruit juice labeled 百香果汁, and the name stuck.
(3) 西番蓮 is a botanical classification term. And 西番果 is used in China and Hongkong. 西番 means Western Savages.
In 1964, yellow-skinned passion fruit cultivars were imported from the Pan-Pacific Farms in Hawaii, and in 1967, even more from S America. They were harvested mostly for juice extraction. The juice was then sold back to the US to be canned and distributed to its military (according to one report). The yellow strain is not cold-tolerant that must be grown under 500 meters altitude. Also, time-consuming artificial pollination must be done to achieve fruition.
Now a hybrid strain 台農一號 TaiNong No 1, developed in 1975 by Feng-Shan Agricultural Experimental Station, has replaced the parental yellow and purple strains and becomes the main passion fruit crop in Taiwan:
Unlike the ubiquitous banana, watermelon and pineapple, passion fruits are still there in Taiwan, just have to search a bit harder for them.
Posted by EyeDoc at 上午2:17