Botanical name: Passiflora caerulea Family: Passifloraceae (Passion flower family)
"There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate." --Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892.
Indeed, the passion flower has inspired many poets. The blue passion flower is a great screening vine for a fence, known for its large exotic flowers, crowned with prominent blue- and purple-banded filaments. It climbs by tendrils that twine & pull the stems along. It is popular with gardeners because of its intricate, scented flowers that have an almost plastic-looking appearance. A woody vine capable of growing to 15–20 m height where supporting trees are available. The leaves are alternate, palmately five-lobed like a spread hand (sometimes three or seven lobes), 10–18 cm long and wide. The base of each leaf has a flagellate twining tendril 5–10 cm long, which twines round supporting vegetation to hold the plant up. The flower is complex, about 10 cm diameter, with the five sepals and petals similar in appearance, whitish in colour, surmounted by a corona of blue or violet filaments, then five greenish-yellow stamens and three purple stigmas. Usually fragrant, it flowers almost all year round. The unusual shape of the flowers has led to the plant being associated in Christian symbolism with the passion of Jesus; the three stigmas representing the three nails used to nail Jesus to the cross, the ovary and its stalk represent the chalice of the Last Supper, the five anthers represent the five wounds, the corona represents the crown of thorns, the ten 'petals' the apostles (save Judas the traitor and Peter the denyer); the old leaves also represent the hands of those who persecuted him, the young leaves the point of the lance used to stab him, and the tendrils the whips of those who beat him. Blue Passion Flower is native to southern Brazil and Argentina.