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August Wildflower Spotlight:
Passion Flower

Passion Flower
Passifloria incarnate

The name of the flower comes from early Spanish and Portuguese priests who associated it with Christ’s passion. The 10 points in the star shape represent the apostles present at the crucifixion. The 72 filaments represent the number of thorns in the crown of Christ; the 5 anthers correspond to his wounds; the 3 styles with rounded stigmas represent the three nails; and coiling tendrils, the whips. 

The flowers have a delicate scent and last for only one day. It is a good host plant for caterpillars and butterflies. Passion flower is found in open woods, fields and along roadsides. Its vines can stretch more than twenty feet and produce a yellowish egg-shaped edible fruit called “maypop”. 

The plant as medicinal uses.  It is used for insomnia, as it aids the transition into restful sleep without any narcotic hangover. As an anti-spasmodic, the passion flower is helpful in treating Parkinson’s disease, asthma, seizures and hysteria. It can also be effective for relieving the pain of the viral infection of the nerves called shingles. 

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