Every flower is nature’s work
of art. One particularly beautiful marvel is the purple passionflower, Passiflora incarnata, also known as a maypop, perhaps in reference to the popping sound the flower’s hollow, light green fruit makes when crushed.
However, it is designated a passionflower primarily because the central floral parts have been recognized as representing aspects of the Christian crucifixion story, often referred to as the Passion. Traditionally, the 10 petal-like parts represent the disciples of Jesus, excluding Peter because he denied Jesus and Judas because he betrayed Jesus; the five stamens, the wounds Jesus received; the knob-like stigmas, the nails; and the fringe, the crown of thorns. And frequently, the passionflower “pops” just in time for Easter.
Purple passionflower grows as a prolific herbaceous vine in the Southeast. Allow it, with its axillary tendrils, to climb wildly over a trellis, gate, or fence, or let it sprawl as a groundcover. Besides purple, the passionflower also comes in pink and blue varieties. It typically blooms in sun and part shade April through September, depending on weather and climate. And, if planted, expect a show of various butterflies enjoying passionflower nectar.