RIO DE JANEIRO – A passionfruit vine famous for producing ‘phallic-shaped’ pods in northern Brazil has died, reported online media Thursday. Homemaker Maria Rodrigues of Sao Jose de Ribamar, Maranahao, has earned extra income for a few years by showing off the fruit, which grew in the shape of male genital organs.
Passionfruit Vine Producing Unusual Fruit Dies
Maria made a business showing the curious fruit as city residents, tourists and even botanists all came knocking on her door. The Brazilian Agricultural Research Agency (EMBRAPA) even dispatched a team of scientists to uncover the reason the fruit, usually round, grew in the shape of a penis and scrotum.
“Since we found this fruit in my backyard, many people came to see with their own eyes. A lot of people. The problem is that to get to the backyard people have to go through my house. On one of these visits, somebody took my cellphone,” Maria told G1 in 2011.
After losing her cellphone to petty theft, she decided to limit visitation. “I started to charge R$2 reais (about $1) for visitors; R$15 reais to take photos, and R$20 reais to film video,” said Maria.
Until the first penis-shaped passion fruits arose in her backyard, Maria passed the days quietly. She became a local celebrity, recognized on the streets, after the strange fruit gained fame. “There were many people coming to my house. I could not even get a bite to eat with all the people coming to take a look,” Dona Maria said.
Maria said that even though she planted the vine to produce fruit to eat, neither her nor her family had ever tasted the strange-shaped passionfruit flesh. “We have not eaten it yet. Since we planted it, we planned to eat, but it has never left the tree,” said the homemaker.