also as the passion flowers or passion vines, Passiflora is a genus of about
500 species of flowering plants, the namesakes of the family Passifloraceae.
They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs. 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:
Blue Passion Flower (Passiflora Caerulea) shows most elements of the Christian
pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the lance that pierced
tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.
ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (excluding St. Peter
and Judas Iscariot)
flower's radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from
flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns.
chalice‑shaped ovary with its receptacle represents the chalice or the Holy
stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four
by the nails and one by the lance).
blue and white colors of many species' flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
took the above photo in Malta, where the Passion flowers grow profusely,
especially in the spring.