The Unique Beauty of Passion Flowers


passion flowers

Our friends Marcy and Alex have the most amazing passion flower vine growing on a beautiful handmade trellis off their deck. I’ve taken multiple photos, particularly this summer, and just recently thought to look up a little about them.

I remember the first time I ever saw one of these blooms in person was at a visit to the Oregon Garden (a worthy trip, especially to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gordon House). I was stunned at this flower’s unusual structure and unique striped color combination. Pretty unforgettable.

passion flower

Turns out the word “passion” doesn’t refer to the romantic kind at all like I’d thought. Instead, according to wikipedia:

“Passion” does not refer to love, but to the Passion of Christ on the cross. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries discovered this flower and adopted its unique physical structures as symbols of Crucifixion. For example: the 72 radial filaments (or corona) represent the Crown of Thorns. The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles. The top 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the lower 5 anthers represent the 5 wounds. The flower has been given names related to this symbolism throughout Europe since that time.

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7 thoughts on “The Unique Beauty of Passion Flowers

  1. This is the first time I have ever heard of a passion flower. They are beautiful!

    I am so glad I finally found out how to get to your site again. Clicking on your name gives an error message and I have been typing paperseedblog.wordpress instead of paperseed.

  2. I love the passion fruit vine, although ours is beginning to deteriorate. We just pruned it waaaaay back, hoping to see it blossom again next Spring.

  3. Thanks for your link KeenEye – I didn’t know that there were some passion flower vines that produced fruit. My friends’ vine must not be the fruiting kind because they’ve had it a little over a year with no sign of fruit. I noticed that the leaves were a little different, too.

    Jolynna – it looks like we both learned something new! 🙂

  4. ooh. pretty! i didn’t see the cross though. my first thought when i saw the flower: shrek. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Flowering Artichoke « Paperseed

  6. What climate/zone do these passion flower-vines grow best?

  7. I can’t say for sure. They seem to do pretty well here in the pacific northwest though.

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