Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is ‘Unique’.

Passiflora incarnata - Passion Flower

Passiflora incarnata – Passion Flower

When I first saw this flower, I wasn’t  sure what to call it, and if it was even a flower. There were a couple hundred of them in a vine covered field. I did a little research and was quite surprised at the unique story behind its name.

The “Passion” in “passion flower” refers to the passion of Jesus in Christian theology. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:

  • The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance.
  • The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.
  • The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (excluding St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer).
  • The flower’s radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns.
  • The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
  • The 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).
  • The blue and white colors of many species’ flowers represent Heaven and Purity.

I thought it was very neat that missionaries used this as a tool to share the gospel. I have never seen one of these flowers around here (I got this picture on a family vacation), but If I ever do, you can bet that I will be showing it off to people, and telling them the meaning of its name.


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About Wyatt VanDePol

Son, Brother, Nikon photographer, Beekeeper, Pianist, Artist, Coffee lover, Good book lover, Cross Country runner, and WordPress blogger.

4 responses to “Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique”

  1. snappy~speak photo says :

    Cool! You shoot nature beautifully.

  2. mflahertyphoto says :

    Really interesting story. I saw some flowers like this in the Andes, but they were even weirder, more spiky. Nice post.

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