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The passionflower story...

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I expect some of you will already know this, but the Passionflower is so called because in the 15th and 16th Centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries discovering it in South America, thought it symbolised the passion of Christ. It is easiest to see the various elements of this symbolism on the commonly grown Passiflora caerulea, but at the moment, I am growing passiflora x caeruleoracemosa and so that’s what’s in these photos.

Anyway, to get to the story….

The pointed tips of the petals represent the lance used to pierce Jesus’ side.

The tendrils are a reminder of the whips with which the Roman jailors tortured him.

The ten petals and sepals stand for the 10 faithful disciples excluding Judas the betrayer and Peter who denied him three times before the crucifiction.

The flower’s radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred, represent the crown of thorns.

The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer 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 colours of P.Caerulea flowers represent Heaven and Purity.

It’s man-imagined symbolism of course, I’m not making any religious point here. But I’ve always thought it quite beautiful and it catches my imagination. I can just picture those early explorers coming upon this flower and being totally blown away by it. So much so that they conjured up heavenly associations for it. I can understand why they felt the need to do that. It is such a breathtakingly beautiful flower and quite unlike anything else in the plant world that I’ve come across.

In my old conservatory I had about half a dozen Passionflowers, all different colours, red, orange, blue, violet etc. and I grew P. Caerulea outside on my fence. When I came here six year ago, I tried the white P. ‘Constance Elliot’ but I wasn’t keen to be honest…cream flowers…seemed lacking somehow. But it seems that I have started a new collection again. This is my second Passionflower growing in my conservatory now. The only downside is they do drip sticky nectar on the floors and windows, and you need to be careful not to buy ones that grow too huge, but we’ll see….this might be the start of something!

Thanks for reading my blog…Karen :D

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Comments

 

Excellent blog as ever Karen and yes you may have started something .

I used to have one but sadly it did not grow to anything.

I wonder will I or wont I .

Do I have space in Conservatory.

15 Aug, 2012

 

I agree with you Karen Beautiful flowers, so detailed and intricate, I enjoyed your narration of what each of the different parts symbolise too, and it makes you realise just how ancient this flower is. I love your new one, can imagine its going to look wonderful in your conservatory when all the flowers are in full bloom, quite a talking piece too;0)

15 Aug, 2012

 

I just need a Conservatory. lol.

15 Aug, 2012

 

I really enjoyed this Karen and your explanation of all the separate parts of the flower....they are an amazing sight and as you say so different from any other flower.....quite mystical.........

15 Aug, 2012

 

Thanks for the detailed explanation Karen. I never really knew the whole of it. This is such a strangely beautiful flower.

15 Aug, 2012

 

Mum, you don't need a conservatory for P. Caerulaea or P. c 'Contance Elliot'. They will grow happily outdoors.

15 Aug, 2012

 

tried them here, they didn't survive for me. :O(

15 Aug, 2012

 

They are lovely karen, I may try them next year. been inspired. Jx

15 Aug, 2012

 

I love Passion flowers but can't grow them in our semi shady garden, but now I might have to grow one in my allotment landscaped garden. What an interesting story. How did you find out about this?

15 Aug, 2012

 

I can't remember Rose, it must have been something I read years ago. I remember telling my Sunday School class all about it about 15 years ago, so it's been in my head a long time. If you google it, there is lots of info. about it. Btw, my P.Caerulaea was growing in a very shaded spot and it did ever so well. They don't tend to mind a bit of shade. The winter often cuts them to the ground, but they will regenerate if you cut them right back.

15 Aug, 2012

 

Interesting! I vaguely remember this story from being a kid (possibly at Sunday School)

15 Aug, 2012

 

Karen, you have made me smile with the tale of the symbolism of the Passion flower ... my late maternal Grandmother had this written out by her schoolteacher ... probably around 1906 and we came across it when Nan had passed away ... Mum agreed I could keep it so it's in my 'Memories Box' in the attic! ... That's a smashing variety in the photo ... :o)

15 Aug, 2012

 

Beautiful photos too

15 Aug, 2012

 

Lovely, Karen. A neighbour of my mother's has a beautiful and vigorous passion flower in her garden. I've never tried growing one, but I just might. It is a beautiful plant.

15 Aug, 2012

 

Oh wow, Karen...I did not know that about the 'Passion Flower'. I read it with great interest, many thanks for that, love the story, I can just picture it :)))

15 Aug, 2012

 

Thank you all. Shirley, that's brilliant! Melchi, P. Caerulaea is so easy, and if it dies back in frost you just cut it right down to where there is still life in it and it will regrow in the spring in no time, at least it did for me in Dundee...it probably won't survive a really hard freezing like my Mum sometimes gets in inland Lincs. Thanks Michaella...I thought you'd like it. :D

16 Aug, 2012

 

Oh, Shirley, it's passiflora x caeruleoracemosa which is a cross between caerulaea and racemosa of course...p.carulaea is the commonly grown outdoor one and in my opinion possibly the most beautiful of all, and racemosa is the beautiful deep red 'wild red passion flower', which I did have in my old conservatory, but it grew very large and took a long time to flower..not enough space for it in there. It's fascinating to see the result of the hybridisation isn't it? Makes me want to have a go at plant breeding myself, only I don't have the patience for it!

16 Aug, 2012

 

This is the picture of the red one, which also has an AGM:

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=3670

16 Aug, 2012

 

These are beautiful photos Karen. There was a common Passion flower growing outside the front door when I moved in here but it was so rampant that it had to go after 5 years of hacking it back. I have never had much success keeping them for more than a year since then which is a shame.

16 Aug, 2012

 

It must be down to the recent hard winters. Better indoors I suppose.

16 Aug, 2012

 

I thought of your blog today Karen - my old Passionflower has decided to return a few feet along from where I had planted it - one flower opened up today - isn't Nature wonderful?! .......

30 Aug, 2012

 

Ah, that's a lovely happening Shirley! :D

30 Aug, 2012

 

I had missed this blog Karen I found the story fascinating, I have a passion flower growing up an old trunk, no signs of any flowers but I don`t mind as its grown so well this year and still looks attractive clinging to the old tree...

30 Aug, 2012

 

Strange that it has no flowers, although having said that, in my old garden my P. Caerulaea never flowered before September, so there's hope yet, especially with the cold dark summer we've had.

30 Aug, 2012

 

Love the variety you are growing at the moment, a real beauty, have removed the hardy one it was just too rampant here......

30 Aug, 2012

 

It is lovely isn't it..and it has a nice perfume too....not too 'medicinal' like some of them.

31 Aug, 2012

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