The Passion Flower (Passiflora), a fast-growing perennial vine, with showy white and purple-blue scented flowers. Passion flower is tropical flower, native to southern Brazil and Argentina. It is also widely found from Virginia to southern Illinois and southeast Kansas, south to Florida and Texas in USA.
Passion flower is also known by other common names viz., Passion Vine, Maracuja, Apricot Vine, Maypop, etc. Passion Flower is 10 cm wide, with the five sepals and petals. The corona in the flower is blue or with violet filaments. Passion flowers have five greenish-yellow stamens and three purple stigmas.
Passion flowers are known to have a high medicinal value. Passion flower has a tranquilizing effect, including mild sedative and anti-anxiety effects. The sedative effect of Passion flower has made it popular for treating a variety of ailments, including nervousness and insomnia.
Passiflora develops evergreen, glossy, 3, 5 or 7-lobed leaves. Curled tendrils can be seen at the base of each leaf.
The most famous fruit comes from the passion fruit plant (Passiflora edulis) which is widely cultivated for the flesh and juice.
That long list of health benefits commonly attributed to passion fruit is due to the nutrient, mineral, and vitamin content of the fruit, which includes antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, fiber, and protein.
The “Passion” in “passion flower” refers to the passion of Jesus in Christian theology. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:
The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance also known as the Holy Spear. The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ. The flower’s radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, 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. The blue and white colours of many species’ flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
Dried leaves of Passiflora can be smoked in the form of cigarettes