Passion flowers (Passiflora) are deeply symbolic and meaningful flowers with a storied history dating back centuries. They were initially named in respect of the ‘Passion’ of Jesus Christ by Roman Catholic priests during the 16th Century. In addition to their ornamental beauty, these flowers also provide a host of uses and benefits. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about Passion Flowers, including their meaning, symbolism, history, origins, and cultural significance around the world.
- Passion Flower Meaning – The Essentials:
- About Passion Flowers (Passiflora)
- Uses and Benefits of Passion Flowers
- The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Passion Flowers
- Suitable Gifting Occasions for Passion Flowers
- Passion Flowers FAQs:
- Passion Flower Meaning – The Final Word
Passion Flower Meaning – The Essentials:
Passion Flowers are vibrant plants that come in many colors and forms. Christians have associated these flowers with the crucifixion of Jesus and the new world he left behind. Even non-Christians can appreciate the plant as a symbol of calm, strength, and purity.
About Passion Flowers (Passiflora)
Family, Genus, and Taxonomy
History and Origins of Passion Flowers
The Passion Flowers was first discovered in Peru in the mid to late 1500s by the early Spanish Missionaries. At the time, the monastic scholar Giacomo Bosio referred to the flower as “La Flor de las cinco Llagas” translated to English as ‘The Flower With The Five Wounds.’
Each part of the flower was ascribed a specific meaning and sentiment as well, such as:
- The five sepals and petals represent the ten apostles during the Passion of Jesus Christ.
- The flower’s inherent purple color is representative of lent.
- The three-pointed leaves represent the Holy Trinity.
Popular Types, Species, and Cultivars
To date, there are more than 500 species of Passion Flowers. The most common Passion Flower is Passiflora caerulea, which is commonly known as the bluecrown Passion Flower or the blue Passion Flower. The Passiflora edulis, or purple granadilla, is another common Passion Flower, which is known for its deep purple color.
What Regions Are Passion Flowers Native To?
Passion Flowers are native to parts of North and South America. These flowers are fairly hardy and can thrive in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. In regions where they aren’t hardy, they can be started outdoors and moved indoors during the winter months.
Uses and Benefits of Passion Flowers
Passion Flowers have many uses and benefits. Native American tribes have used them to treat inflammation by creating a poultice to place on the affected area.
The Medicinal Benefits of Passion Flowers
In North America and Europe, Passion Flower is brewed into tea to help promote restful sleep. It’s also been used as a treatment for insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety.
Some cultures use Passion Flowers to treat neuralgia, epilepsy, hysteria, or opiate dependency. It’s also said to treat diabetes, anxiety, asthma, coughs, and Helicobacter pylori.
Some reports note that it can help with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and congestive heart failure. Because these uses haven’t been officially studied and proved effective, Passion Flower remedies aren’t a suitable substitute for prescribed medications.
Passion Flowers also have pain-relieving properties. Some women use tinctures and teas containing Passion Flowers to treat menopause. Treating ulcers is another possible use of Passion Flowers when the ulcer is due to aspirin or alcohol use. Passion Flower has also been used to help control inflammation of hemorrhoids and to control the pain from them.
Using Passion Flower isn’t without risk. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, pregnant women shouldn’t use Passion Flower during pregnancy because it can cause strong uterine contractions. This is the reason African American slave midwives used Passion Flower to induce miscarriage.
The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Passion Flowers
Passion Flower Meaning and Symbolism in Christianity
Passion Flowers are said to represent the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There are five petals and five sepals on Passion Flowers. These represent the ten faithful apostles who stood by Jesus in the period leading up to the crucifixion.
The Corona filaments that grow in a ring above the sepals and petals symbolize the crown of thorns. There are three stigmas that are said to represent the three nails that were used to hang Jesus on the cross. The five anthers represent the five wounds Jesus had when He was crucified.
The maypop fruit that Passion Flowers produce is also significant to Christians. It symbolizes the world that Jesus left behind after He sacrificed Himself on the cross. Some don’t realize that Passion Flowers will eventually produce fruit if the flowers are left alone.
This unexpected result is similar to the hope of a new world after the death of Jesus. It’s a beautiful testimony to the labor of love that Jesus had for the world, just as the labor of love the Passion Flower’s caregiver had while tirelessly taking care of the plant.
Other Passion Flower Meanings
For non-Christians, the Passion Flower still has symbolic meaning in the language of flowers. Passion Flowers are a host for butterflies, which symbolizes hope and care for delicate beings. Some people also look at the color of the Passion Flowers to determine the meaning of an individual plan.
For example, blue Passion Flowers are associated with a calm existence, while purple Passion Flowers are a sign of regal strength. The white portions of Passion Flowers are considered a symbol of purity despite challenges.
Some Passion Flowers are vining plants, which further exude strength. Some also see this as a symbol of growth, hope, and successful journeys. It’s also seen as a sign of versatility and an ability to overcome challenges.
Suitable Gifting Occasions for Passion Flowers
Giving someone a Passion Flower, whether a starter plant, cut flowers, or fruit, is a beautiful testament to your care for them. Just about any occasion is suitable for Passion Flowers, but people tend to give them out more around Easter time as a symbol of hope and Jesus’ love for the world.
Passion Flowers FAQs:
What Does a Passion Flower Symbolize?
Christians have associated the plan with the crucifixion of Jesus and the new world he left behind. Even non-Christians can appreciate the plant as a symbol of calm, strength, and purity.
Are Passion Flowers Considered Lucky?
Passion Flowers are considered lucky because they’re said to have a calming effect.
Is a Passion Flower a Flower of Love?
Despite the name, Passion Flowers aren’t usually associated with love.
Do Passion Flowers Come Back Every Year?
Passion Flowers develop a deep root system, which enables them to return each year for six to seven years.
Do Passion Flowers Bloom More Than Once Each Season?
Passion Flowers bloom continuously from spring through fall. You’ll typically see the blooms from May through August.
Passion Flower Meaning – The Final Word
Passion Flowers have long held symbolic meaning and association in Christianity thanks to the early Spanish Missionaries who discover these beautiful flowering plants on their expeditions to South America. Today, Passion Flowers are a beautiful addition to an outdoor garden in zones 5 through 9 in the United States. It’s also an excellent option for those in other zones who don’t mind bringing it in during winter. These plants don’t require intensive care, which makes them ideal for a beginning gardener, but the beauty also calls to experienced gardeners who want vibrant pops of color in their garden.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.