PASSION FLOWER is a woody vine that has unusual blossoms. Roman Catholic priests of the lat 1500's named it for the Passion (suffering and death) of Jesus Christ. They believed that several parts of the plant, including the petals, rays, and sepals, symbolized features of the Passion. The flower's five petals and five petallike sepals represented the 10 apostles who remained faithful to Jesus throughout the Passion. The circle of hairlike rays above the petals suggested the crown of thorns that Jesus wore on the day of His death.

The priests who named the vine found it growing in what is now Latin America. Today, gardeners in many parts of the world raise passion flowers for the blossoms. The flowers may be almost any color. Their diameter ranges from 1/2 inch to 6 inches. Most of the approximately 400 species of passion-flowers grow in warm regions of North and South America. The maypop, the common PASSION FLOWER of the Southern United States, bears a yellow fruit. These fruits taste slightly sour or very sweet, depending on the species. Passion flowers grown for passionfruit juice are Passiflora edulis flavicarpa.

| Parson's Archive Home | Aggie Horticulture |