Passion fruit flower

I am a Passionfruit lover and that is probably ( ejem …) why, Natalia started planting passion fruit plants in many different places in the gardens at Tranquilo Bay, trying to find the best soil and light conditions for them to flourish.

Passiflora name explanation

Definitely, they like direct sun and, those who had it, did produce for quite a few years. All the time the plants were producing, we were watching the full process during the passion fruits growth.  We learned about many visitors like the flag-footed bug, the butterfly Dione Juno and many heliconius butterflies that use the Passifloras as a host plant (meaning the plant that they feed on as caterpillars before they rehatch as beautiful butterflies), so many things happens on that plant …

Wildlife Panama

Over the years we got to know many curiosities of this plant and it´s relationship with other life forms but, what I did not know, is the story behind Carl Linnaeus’ decision to call these genus of plants Passiflora.

The Passiflora or passion fruits, got their name from the Spanish colonial times when the first colonists arrived to the “new continent”, they considered these flowers as a representation of “the passion” or the last days of Christ and his suffering.

According to this religious interpretation of the flower parts, each one of them represents some aspects of Jesus Christ Crucifixion, here is a relation …

“The crown of filaments : The crown of thorns.
Three styles and stigmas : The three nails.
The androgynophore: The pillar on with Jesus was whipped.
The five stamens: The five wounds Jesus received on the cross.
The leaves: The lanced use to perforate Jesus´s side.
The glands on the leaves: The 30 pieces of silver that Judas received for his betrayal.”

“Over time other relations were suggested like the 10 petals and sepals represent the 10 apostles present at the crucifixion (Judas and Peter were absent), the three large floral bracts representing the trinity” or, the tendrils representing the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.

Passionflower photo

“All these religious symbols were interpreted as a divine signal to Christianize America, spread over time until 1737 when swedish scientist Carolus Linnaeus decided to use Passiflora as the name for the genus”.

Wildlife Panama

Information extract from the Introduction of the Book “Passion flowers of Costa Rica” By Armando Estrada and Alexander Rodriguez. Inbio Editorial which is an excellent book to  learn, in a very deep but educational way, about the amazing Passion flowers’ world, that includes some of the most stunning flowers of the world.

Panama Passionflower

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