Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Plant of the Week: The Passion Flower Vine
Popularly, passion flowers and especially passion fruit are frequently used with sexual or romantic innuendo, giving rise to such uses as a one-time soft drink named Purple Passion. The "Passion" in "passion flower" does not refer to sex and love, however, but 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.
  • The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.
  • The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles(less St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer).
  • 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 stigmata 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 colors of many species' flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
Mainly described as vigorous, the passion flower may be an invasive plant. I have a fried at work who was glad that the January freezes killed his red passion flower, as it was taking over his garden.

It is a larval food for several butterflies: Including the gulf Frittillary and the Zebra Longwing, and the Julia.

Some cultivars have edible fruit as well. I planted a Purple Possum from Logee's which is supposed to provide fruit.

Tip of the Week:

Find your extension office. Every county in the US has one.
Click on your state and then follow the link to your local office.
They know the best plants to grow in your area, and can usually answer any questions that you may have.

Thank you to Anoukharp who contaced me on Ravelry. She is the harpist in Fairydae, the group who performs the theme music for the podcast.

Thank you to Sillyfru of the Sassypants Knitter Podcast and Coggie TM of the High Fiber Podcast for your support and help.  

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