Passionflower in Nature

Passionflower originates from the south-east United States. This climbing plant received its “passionate” name from Christian immigrants, specifically in 1605 by the missionary Simone Pralasca who saw references to the Passion of Jesus Christ in the flower. He felt that the blossom’s ten petals represented Christ’s ten disciples (excluding Judas and Peter), and he recognized Christ’s crown of thorns in the threads of the plant’s corona. To him, the five stamens symbolized the wounds of Christ, while the three styli pointed towards the nails on the cross. In addition, the missionary believed that the sprout tendrils illustrated the scourge of humanity. His perceptions contributed to the second part of the plant’s Latin name, “incarnata”, which stems from the word “to embody”. In other words, the passionflower embodies the story of the Passion.


The passionflower is theoretically able to grow around the entire world today, yet it tends to prefer a warmer climate. In contrast with other species of the genus, Passiflora incarnata is able to tolerate short-term conditions of frosty temperatures up to minus 15 degrees Celsius if the conditions are otherwise favourable. When this happens, those parts above ground die off, only to germinate again in the spring from the rhizomes that still remain alive below ground.