Pua Lilikoʻi

n. Passion fruit, purple water lemon, or purple granadilla (Passiflora edulis), an American vine with three-lobed leaves and edible dull-purple fruits about 5 cm long, growing wild in many forests of Hawaiʻi; said to be named after Lilikoʻi, Maui, where it was first grown. The yellow-fruited lilikoʻi (P. edulis f. flavicarpa), is similar but has yellow, better-tasting fruits; it is grown commercially in the Hawaiian Islands and used for desserts and beverages. (Neal 599.)

(lee lee koh ʻeeh)

I am getting excited. I saw flowers on my lilikoʻi vines. YAY! If you know me, you know I am a lover of all things lilikoʻi. Get ready, folks, I am a taker of all spare lilikoʻi you may have! Lilikoʻi butter, sorbet, syrup, juice. Got any other ideas?

My pet peeve, though, is when people pronounce this word without the ʻokina (glottal stop). Songs are the worst! They perpetuate the mispronunciation. They just run it together at the end — koi — rhyming with poi. That is a no-no. It is koʻi. ko.stopyourvoice.i. Koh-ʻee.

I never ever heard of a passionfruit in all of my childhood. A lilikoʻi was always a lilikoʻi to me. I didn’t even know it had an English name. Many people assume lilikoʻi is native to Hawaiʻi since we have so many food items devoted to it and it grows so prolifically but lilikoʻi is actually categorized as introduced/exotic to our islands. Post Captain Cook. So while we don’t necessarily like ALL the plants that have been introduced here (invasive species really do a number on our native plants), there are some that we adore. Lilikoʻi, for me, is one. How about for you? What is your favorite lilikoʻi dessert or food item? Or drink…

ʻOno ka lilikoʻi – Passionfruit is delicious.

ʻO ka lilikoʻi kekahi o kaʻu mau hua punahele – the lilikoʻi is one of my favorite fruits.

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2 Responses to Lilikoʻi

  1. OldTomBumble says:

    All my years living here and I never knew that there was an ‘okina! Love your posts and welcome back. My punahele is liliko’i bars. My neighbors always have extra fruit to share.

  2. Liana says:

    I am a lilikoʻi bar lover, too!

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