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Meaning and symbolism of passion flowers

When you think of the word “passion”, what comes to mind? Possibly some of the following definitions: a strong feeling or desire, love for something or someone, or perhaps even the sufferings of Christ. Although some words may have different meanings to different people, there are generally common themes.

The passion flower may mean something different to some people, but it commonly symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus. The flower itself has some characteristics that have been linked to different aspects of the crucifixion. Over the years, people have detected these similarities and symbolized some of the different aspects of the flower.

What is a passion flower?

Let’s back up a bit here, what is a passionflower? The passion flower is a perennial vine, which means it returns year after year if properly cared for.

The flowers are generally purple in color, but can range from white to dark lavender. Some flowers will have alternating colors that appear as bands on the petals.

When the flowers bloom, there are 5 petals and 5 sepals (the outer parts of the flower that enclose the flower before it blooms). Above the petals, rope-shaped segments form that are usually purple in color and are called crown filaments.

The passion flower blooms from June to September. There are small yellow fruits that grow from the plant that are often referred to as “maypop” fruits.

These fruits can grow to the size of a chicken egg and, if picked at the right time, can taste like apricot.. These fruits are not commonly eaten, but the flavor extract is sometimes used in tea.

Passionflower Symbolism

Now, let’s get back to the meaning of the passion flower name. As mentioned above, the name “passion flower” is based on the crucifixion of Jesus.

You may be wondering, what relevance does this flower have to the crucifixion? The flower itself has some physical characteristics that supposedly symbolize different aspects of the crucifixion.

Corona filaments

These filaments grow in a ring just above the petals and sepals of the passion flower. These filaments are said to represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore before his crucifixion. The word “crown” is actually defined as a crown or crown-shaped.

Stigma

At the top of the flower, above the petals, sepals and crown filaments, there are three stigmas. The stigma is the part of the flower that receives pollen and initiates fertilization. The three stigmata of the passion flower are said to represent the three nails that supported Jesus on the cross.

Petals and Sepals

As mentioned earlier, the passion flower has five petals and five sepals. For the sake of symbolism, many refer to the ten pieces as petals. The ten “petals” are said to represent the ten apostles who were faithful to Jesus during the crucifixion.

Anthers

The passion flower has five anthers that are located just below the three stigmas. Anthers are the parts of the flower where pollen is produced. The five anthers are said to symbolize the five wounds that Jesus suffered when he was crucified.

Maypop Fruit

Although not found in all translations, the maypop fruit produced by the flower is also often symbolized. For some, it represents our world that Jesus saved when he sacrificed himself. The fruit is generally round in shape, which is why it is called ground in this reference.

Uses of passion flower

Passion flower is not only a pretty flower to grow in your garden, it also has some medicinal properties. Although there is no formal scientific research to support its use, many use it for the following:

Anxiety

The chemicals found in passionflower are said to have calming properties. Ingesting these chemicals by mouth can reduce some of the symptoms of anxiety.

Insomnia

There are also claims that the chemical extract of passionflower can be used to help someone with insomnia fall asleep.

Some add the extract to tea or other beverages before bed in the hope that they will be able to fall asleep more easily than they would have otherwise.

Several decades ago, passion flower extract was previously used in some over-the-counter medications to aid sleep. However, in 1978, the FDA revoked its endorsement of the drug because there was insufficient evidence of its safety or efficacy.

Stress

Some also use the soothing effects that passion flower is supposed to have to reduce stress. The chemical extract from the flower is supposed to be taken orally and can supposedly take effect in 30 minutes.

ADHD

Some research has been done on the effects of passionflower extract in reducing the effects of ADHD in children. Sometimes used as an alternative to prescription drugs, passion flower is said to work similarly to low-dose methylphenidate. Again, not enough research has been done to formally support this method.

Seasoning

Passionflower extract is also used as a flavoring, most commonly in tea. Passion flower, when used in tea, is said to add a mild earthy herb flavor that is usually complemented with sugar or an alternative to sugar. The passion flower itself is said to have a bitter taste, but can be slightly sweet if picked when perfectly ripe. The taste is sometimes compared to that of an apricot.

Origin of Passionflower

The name “passion flower” was given to this plant in the 16th century. Christian missionaries in South America found the flower during their journey and discovered that many of the flower’s physical features aligned with the crucifixion. Therefore, the reference to the “Passion of Christ” has been maintained ever since.

The passion flower became widely known and was used by many to teach about the crucifixion. The flower grows naturally throughout South America and in Mexico, but can now be found all over the world.