Passion Flower, Flower of Leo and the Sun

When I first started outdoor gardening ~ after many years of being confined to a window box ~ I ferociously cut back every vine I couldn’t identify. Living next to a woody area invites all kinds of evil creepers so I just whacked away. I had no idea then that I was cheating myself out of one of the most beautiful and unique wild flowers Mother Nature offers.

There are many types and colors of passion flowers, but most share that stupendous radiant sun shape, so it’s very easy to see that they belong to the Sun and Leo. They begin to bloom in my shady backyard about the time that the Sun enters Leo, and last through the warmer parts of autumn. They require very little care, but will climb everything they find. Give them a trellis and they’ll be just fine.

There’s something about the flowers that last only a day ~ morning glories, moon flowers, and passion flowers ~ that always make me happy when I see them. I joke that these types of flowers are getting ready for the prom. There’s weeks of work for a one day show. Perhaps that’s what life is actually about.

Passion flowers, aka Maypops,  are edible. I was surprised to find that the fruit of Passiflora edulis (passion fruit) is the flavoring used for Hawaiian Punch. Passion flowers and passion fruits also give us teas and jellies. I found this article to be extremely helpful and full of info.

The passion flower has several meanings in the language of flowers. The most obvious, of course, is “passion.” Those who associate it with the passion of the Christ, gave it the meaning of belief, faith, and religious fervor. The most interesting meaning that I discovered was “mourning over the death of a loved one.” (source) I also discovered this wonderful legend at Passion Flower Basket:

Inca mythology includes the Vine of Souls, which housed ancestral spirits. This may sometimes have alluded to the passiflora with its large, hollow fruit making perfect houses for spirits. The radiating circle of the passion flower’s corona invoked sun worship in Inca, Aztec, and Mayan cultures.

I will always look at my passion flower vine differently after reading this legend, and will handle their spirited fruit with utmost care. There are many vines of souls in my yard now and I will never whack away at another one.

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