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Filled with irony, at first glance passion flower sounds like an herb meant to get you off the couch and onto the dance floor. Though zeal, enthusiasm, fervor is implied in its name, passion flower actually couldn't incite a flea to a grass-rolling cat if it wanted to. Widely known to actually induce whole body, mind and spirit calm, you might wonder, then, how this plant got its name. Naturally, there's a story here. ...
What's in a Name? Some Passion Flower History
Even if you are not a practicing Christian, you're likely familiar with the term the passion of Christ, which referred to Jesus of Nazareth's last days on earth, specifically his crucifixion. Though in 1569 a Spanish doctor in Peru is said to have discovered passion flower, eventually this remarkable plant found itself in the clutches of Spanish missionaries, who saw in its three stigmas, five stamens, and ten sepals an actual representation of Jesus' crucifixion. The missionaries used the flower as a model to introduce Christianity to the indigenous people they sought to convert.
What is Passion Flower?
As a plant, passion flower is classified as a perennial climbing vine. Sun-loving, and rather nonplused about pristine soil, this plant is actually one of about 500 species in the Passifloriaceae family. Though it does flower without climbing, passion flower is best served when able to climb up a trellis, or wind itself through fencing. It flowers white and lavender, with a fringed crown, and a leafed stalk. Butterflies and bees love to make passion flower part of their pollen-gathering journey.