Friday, March 23, 2012

The Passion Flower

The Passion Flower, photo taken in Malta
Known also as the passion flowers or passion vines, Passiflora is a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants, the namesakes of the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs. 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 Blue Passion Flower (Passiflora Caerulea) shows most elements of the Christian symbolism
The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the lance that pierced Jesus’ side.
The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.
The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (excluding St. Peter and Judas Iscariot)
The flower's radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns.
The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents the chalice or the Holy Grail.
The 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).
The blue and white colors of many species' flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
I took the above photo in Malta, where the Passion flowers grow profusely, especially in the spring.

1 comment:

  1. I was just looking for one to buy in Malta. I finally convinced myself my garden needs some. What a fantastic flower.

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