Passiflora or the Passion Flower
Passiflora, passion flowers or passion vines, is a genus of about five hundred species of flowering plants. They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs, and a few species being herbaceous. The family Passifloraceae is found worldwide, except Antarctica. Passiflora is also absent from Africa but there are many other members of the family Passifloraceae. It is the national flower of Paraguay. We grew three varieties and loved their delicate but hardy presence. Nothing can compare to the collection we found here at Butterfly World which is very impressive.
Nine species of Passiflora are native to the USA, found from Ohio to the north, west to California and south to the Florida Keys. Most other species are found in South America, China and Southern Asia, New Guinea, four or more species in Australia and a single endemic species in New Zealand. New species continue to be identified. Some species of Passiflora have been naturalised beyond their native ranges, an example is the Blue Passion Flower which now grows wild in Spain. The purple passionfruit (P. edulis) and its yellow relative flavicarpa have been introduced in many tropical regions as commercial crops. There can be as many as ten to twenty seeds in the fruit. P. incarnata (maypop) leaves and roots have a long history of use among Native Americans in North America and were adapted by the European colonists. The fresh or dried leaves of maypop are used to make a tea that is used to treat insomnia, hysteria and epilepsy, and is also valued for its analgesic properties. P. edulis (passion fruit) and a few other species are used in Central and South America for similar purposes. Once dried, the leaves can also be smoked.
The two types of passion fruit have clearly differing exterior appearances. The bright yellow variety of passion fruit, which is also known as the Golden Passion Fruit, can grow up to the size of a grapefruit, has a smooth, glossy, light and airy rind; it has been used as a rootstock for the Purple Passion Fruit in Australia. The dark purple passion fruit is smaller than a lemon, though it is less acidic than the yellow passion fruit, it has a richer aroma and flavour. Popularly, passion flowers and especially passion fruit are frequently used with sexual or romantic innuendo, giving rise to such uses as a one-time soft drink named Purple Passion. Passion fruit wine is produced in Israel.
The "Passion" in "passion flower" refers to the passion of Jesus in Christian theology. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:
The flower has been given names related to this symbolism throughout Europe since that time. In Spain, it is known as espina de Cristo ("Christ's thorn"). Older Germanic names include Christus-Krone ("Christ's crown"), Christus-Strauss ("Christ's bouquet"), Dorn-Krone ("crown of thorns"), Jesus-Lijden ("Jesus' passion"), Marter ("passion") or Muttergottes-Stern ("Mother of God's star").
An illustration by Joseph
Martin Kronheim – 1880
An illustration by Joseph Martin Kronheim – 1880
Outside the Christian heartland, the regularly shaped flowers have reminded people of the face of a clock; in Israel they are known as "clock-flower", and in Japan they are called tokeisō - "clock plant". In Hawaiian, they are called lilikoʻi; lī is a string used for tying fabric together, such as a shoelace, and liko means "to spring forth leaves". In India, blue passionflowers are called Krishnakamala in Karnataka and Maharashtra, while in UP and generally north it is colloquially called "Paanch Paandav". The flower's structure lends itself to the interpretation along the lines of five Pandavas, the Divine Krishna at centre, and the opposing hundred at the edges. The colour blue is moreover associated with Krishna as colour of his aura. In northern Peru and Bolivia, the banana passionfruits are known as tumbos. This is one possible source of the name of the Tumbes region of Peru.
ALL IN ALL A BEAUTIFUL FLOWER