Every year I find myself completely captivated by a lifecycle that I follow in both my backyard and at the Preschool garden. Both locations have a passion vine which in spring/summer begin to get covered in these other-worldly flowers that smell wonderful and have an appearance like nothing I have ever seen. I could stare at them for a long time and still be fascinated. Passiflora is a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants.
The “Passion” in “passion flower” refers to the passion of Jesus. 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 represent the crown of thorns. The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents the Holy Grail. The 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds. The blue and white colors represent Heaven and Purity.
But beyond the very detailed and amazing thought behind the symbolism of the flower, I just love when all of the baby caterpillars come out and start chewing away. They can do a pretty good job at taking the vine apart, but that vine usually bounces right back. And the caterpillars, once they grow nice and fat, curl up into a “J” and go into their chrysalis phase.
I never have been there as the butterfly emerges, but it is definitely one of my goals to see it happen.