Wednesday, October 24, 2012

With Thanks to Mother Nature | Passion Flower

Passiflora incarnata
This summer I noticed an odd vine growing out near the barn.  Climbing one of the lean-to supports, it was lush in spite of the drought.  A few days later I noticed some incredible purple flowers.   Buzzing with bees and being sampled by hummingbirdgs.

 Thanks to some birds or wild animals helping Mother Nature, we had a Passion Vine!

Passion flowers or passion vines are part of the Passiflora genus of about 500 species of flowering plants.   Nine of these are native to the United States, including the Blue Passion Flower like ours.

According to Wikipedia, 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 as symbols of the last days of Jesus and, especially, his crucifixion:
  • The pointed tips of the leaves represent the Holy Lance
  • the temdrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ
  • The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles ((excluding St Peter the denier and Judas the betrayer
  • The flower's radial filaments represent the crown of thorns
  • The chalice shaped flower ovary represents the Holy Grail
  • The three stigmas represent the three nails; the five flower anthers represent the five wounds.
  • the blue and white colors flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
In Victorian times, Passion Flower was so popular that hybrids were created.  According to the University of Maryland, Passionflower was traditionally used in the Americas and later in Europe as a calming herb for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hysteria. It is still cultivated and sold as an herbal supplement for anxiety.
Each of the vines flower blossoms last only for one day.  And, of course, it seemed I would never be able to time it properly to get some photos!   Imagine my surprise when I discovered the relatively large fruit hanging on my Passion Flower vine!
Egg shaped and edible, according to the Garden Web the Passion Flower fruit is fairly tasteless with many small black seeds.

I suspect that the wild creatures that call our farm home do not agree.  Every time I checked for fruit that was ripe to pick... they were gone.  I'm just hoping that they've re-seeded some of this beautiful plant so that we can enjoy it next year!


  1. Woof! Woof! OH! We've seen this flower and they are pretty. Golden Thanks for sharing the information. Happy Wednesday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  2. That is beautiful! I have never seen a passion flower and didn't know that it was a vine. I would love to have one of those in my yard. I do know it's benefits as I started drinking a herbal tea called "Nighty,Night Tea" when my Mother passed away to help me sleep. That was 13 years ago and I still drink it every night! Great post! :)

  3. Ooops! Forgot to say that the tea's main ingredient is the passion flower! duh! (menopause moment LOL!)

    1. I'd offer to send some seeds, but I never made it before some critter carried the pods off! Tea... that would be a great idea!

  4. Sounds like I could use some passion flower tea :-) Lovely flower! Thank you for the information - I hadn't thought about where the name came the explanation :-)

  5. what a gorgeous flower! I have never heard of it before!

  6. What an amazing flower! I've heard of them but never seen one before.

  7. So that's what a passion flower looks like. I've heard about passion flower iced tea and wondered why someone would mix the two; do passion flowers have a flavor. It never occurred to me to Google passion flower to check it out.

    Thanks for sharing!


Go ahead... bark at us!