Passiflora: language of flowers and plants
LANGUAGE AND MEANING OF FLOWERS AND PLANTS
Passionflower was introduced to Europe in 1610 by Emmanuel de Villegas, an Augustinian father who was returning from Mexico. He was fascinated by a plant that produced an extraordinary flower, which the natives called granadilla and of which they ate the fruit.
The missionary was struck, not by the fruit but by the flower as he associated with it the passion and crucifixion of Jesus Christ: the crown of colored filaments surrounding the ovary was the crown of thorns; the 5 stamens, the 5 wounds of Jesus; the 3 stigmas, the 3 nails; the 5 petals and the 5 sepals the apostles remained faithful to Jesus; the androgynophore the column of the flagellation and the tendrils the flagella while the 5 anthers the 5 wounds.
As soon as he returned home he showed the plant to Father Giocomo Bosio and was so fascinated by it that he wrote, in the same year, the Treatise on the Crucifixion of Our Lord with the first description of the flower it was called passion embodied.But it was Linnaeus who in 1753 classified this plant and kept the name passiflora which derives precisely from the Latin flos passionis «Passion flower», another name by which it is known is passion plant.
Given its origin, in the nineteenth-century language of flowers, passionflower is the symbol of religious faith.
The fruits of the Passion
Some species produce edible fruits, while others produce slightly toxic fruits.The caerulea variety, the most widespread in Italy and Europe, produces in particular fruits whose pulp contains slightly toxic substances, and cannot be eaten, because they can cause vomiting and nausea. even if in fact these fruits are not particularly inviting, and when ripe they give off an aroma that is not completely pleasant, therefore it is quite unlikely to eat them by mistake.
In South America some particular species are grown to use their fruits, whose fruit has a sweet and aromatic taste, and is eaten raw, or added to other fruits in the preparation of compotes, jams and juices.
Passionflower is also used in herbal medicine, the Aztecs already knew its sedative and calming virtues, the infusion of leaves has in fact strong sedative, calming and anxiolytic properties. In herbal medicine you can find passion fruit infusions to be used even in case of insomnia.