Passiflora, the passion flowers or passion vines, is a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants, the namesakes of the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs, and a few species being herbaceous.
Passionflower is the official wildflower of Tennessee.
Passion Flowers have been associated with the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ as well as the Passion of Christ. The latter association led the missionaries to name the flowers “Passion Flowers.” The ten petals and sepals, to the Spanish, represented ten disciples present at the crucifixion. The three stigma represented three nails on the cross, the five anthers the five wounds of Christ. The many fringes represented the crown of thorns in the passion story. Bosio counted 72 fringes or filaments, which according to tradition, writes Vanderplank, is the number of thorns in the crown of thorns. Interpretations vary in literature. A poet of the time explains that this flower was used to persuade Indians of the power of the cross. The passion flower, he writes, was a witness at the crucifixion.
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