It's Easter and time to remember the Passion Flower, which got its name from the Spanish priests in Brazil, who saw a religious significance in it. Read on to find out more about the climber.
THERE ARE more than 400 species in the Passifloracaea family. A native of South America, this fantastic climber loves warmth, and is a huge space consumer.
The common name `Passion Flower' came from the Spanish priests in Brazil. They saw a religious significance in the formation of the beautiful flower. The Easter story was read in it the three pistils are said to represent the nails used on Christ's coffin, the five stamens the five wounds, the 10 sepals and petals the faithful disciples, and the lovely fringed corona, the crown of thorns.
Passion Flower is a hardy evergreen climber, complete with spring-like tendrils that help the plant to twine itself around a support. Even the leaves are ornamental, being deeply lobed. Flowers are borne almost in racemes, one after the other, along the long stem, at the base of each leaf. The plant blooms early in the morning, and the flowers remain fresh till the evening.
The P. Caeruleae is the most common, a stunning purplish blue flower. The P. Edulis is a mix of white and pinkish-blue. The P. Coriacae has small, yellowish green flowers.
The most spectacular variety is the P. Cochinieae - a superb red flower, huge in size.
Growing conditions are the same for all the Passiflora - warm, sunny conditions, plenty of water and bit of potash-based fertilizer every two months. A large tub is advisable with adequate climbing provision in the form of an arch or post. Alternately, the plant could be grown in the ground and allowed to climb on an old tree, or a wall.
Ants could become a problem for the gardener, as the plant attracts them in plenty. The plant bears fruit in cooler climes. The fruit is rather like a sweet lime and fruit juice is made out of it and marketed commercially. No seed is available; the plant may be easily multiplied by layering or cutting.
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