Thursday, June 22, 2006
The flower of the day in the French Republican calendar is veronica or speedwell but the plant of the day on Rosa’s Dial is the passionflower and I decided to write about that since my daughter is growing a magnificent passionflower inside our house. She got the seeds from a fruit on a plant that was growing around the corner on our city block and sprouted them by putting them into dirt. She got two viable plants and gave me one which I planted in my garden but it didn’t succeed. However, the one she planted in a pot in the house has climbed up and down and up again on a string she attached to the ceiling. It’s been wonderful watching it grow. The tendrils stretch out toward the sun but then curl back around looking for something to cling to.
Although I went to one web site that tried to convince me that passion flowers could be used in spells to incite passion in your lover, I was not convinced. The plants were named by Spanish missionaries in South America, where the passion flower is a native, and used to illustrate the aspects of the passion of Christ (not a very sexy topic). Medicinally they have been used as sedatives and sleep aids. In the language of the flowers, they have various meanings including: belief, violent pain of love, faith, religious superstition and susceptibility.
Because I found so many great web sites with information about passionflowers I’m going to refer you to them, rather than try to write about them myself:
Here’s Chelsie Vandaverert’s article on the plant:
She also has an article about how passionflowers fool the butterflies that help them reproduce:
Here’s a whole site devoted to passionflowers, which includes links to what looks like every scholarly article ever written about passionflowers plus much more:
Mrs. M. Grieve has a little bit of information:
The photograph comes from Darcey at Desert Medicine Woman, a web site I heartily recommend: