Worms and Flowers

Passion Flower of the Christ?

Posted in Passiflora by Lzyjo on June 30, 2009

The name Passion Flower does not come from aphrodisiac, passion-inflaming effects, but rather from a religious symbolism to the Passion of the Christ.

Conquistadors and Missionaries immediately noted a symbolism of the Crucifixion in the Passion flowers. To the missionaries the three stigmas represented nails used to crucify Jesus. The five anthers represented five wounds. The filaments of the flower symbolized the crown of thorns. The vine’s tendrils were interpreted as whips used by his tormentors. The leaves are interpreted in two ways, as the spear stabbed into his side, or the three lobes are interpreted as the Holy Trinity.Photobucket

I  have been trying to grow Passiflora Edulis from seed for over a year, a total disappointment so far. I couldn’t have been happier to see a sprawling mass of Maypops on one of the vacant parcels for sale in the development across the street where we walk the dog.

This Southeastern native Passiflora Incarnata, also called Purple Passionflower, it is the hardiest species in the genus, surviving as far north as Pennsylvania and Illinois and as far west as Texas. The name Maypop comes from their unexpected popping out of the ground in May after dieing back in the winter. The Passiflora genus is the Tennessee State Wildflower. Cherokee Indians living in Tennessee called the fruit Ocoee, leading to the designation of the Ocoee River Valley.

The quality of the fruit, also called a Maypop, or wild apricot, can be variable. Although there are some reports it is tasty. The flowers are not only magnificent, but they are sweetly fragrant and a favorite flower of the Zebra Longwing. I thought I saw a zebra swallowtail also, but I may have been mistaken. I’m trying to root a cutting because it seems like my P. edulis will never flower!

6 Responses

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  1. Faith said, on June 30, 2009 at 8:15 AM

    We have them around here. Often have to pull them up when they are in inconvenient places. But my dad wants one, so we’ve got to harvest a fruit for him to have some seeds. I can understand the name Maypop, but as for wild apricot, I see no connection. They are very pretty, aren’t they! 🙂


    I’m a yankee, so I’d never seen them or heard of them until I moved here. There are one of the prettier “weeds” for sure. Especially great for anyone who wants to grow passiflora is the cooler zones!

  2. Dawn said, on June 30, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    Oh my, I never knew that about this pretty little flower, I hope you will have success with it.

    Thanks. I’m from the North too, I had never seen or heard of it until I moved down here, and even down here I haven’t run into it much. They are pretty though.

  3. jgh said, on June 30, 2009 at 12:31 PM

    I saw one in a nursery recently and just passed right by thinking “it’ll never survive here… ” little did I know! I didn’t know there were hardy varieties. Still, zone 7 may be pushing it, huh?

    Although, they do die back, they are far hardier than their tropical counterparts. Maybe with global warming, in a few years, you’ll be growing it up there.

  4. Darla said, on June 30, 2009 at 12:58 PM

    Interesting info. I have never tried to grow these although I do enjoy seeing them when I can.

    At first I didn’t think the maypop was as showy as grenadillas, etc., but it really does have the classic passiflora look and much hardier too! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Gail said, on June 30, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    I have a few vines here, but it never gets enough sun or space to flower…gail

    and I don’t have enough shade to grow anything shady, even my pineapple sage is shriveling up. I guess we can’t have everything!

  6. Daisy said, on July 6, 2009 at 3:04 PM

    Hi I had a Passiflora, which my late husband bought for me, in the house I used to live in. When I moved I cut it right back, dug it up and brought it with me to the new house. For 2 years it didnt respond at all, I thought I had lost it, but last year it grew better than ever. This year it is even more magnificent with more flowers than ever before. It s in full son most of the day.

    What a wonderful story! I’m so glad it’s thriving again! Beautiful!

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