Spiritual Meaning of the Passion Flower

The passion flower is so distinctive, it isn’t surprising that people wonder about its spiritual meaning, symbolism or any omens associated with it.

What Are Passion Flowers?

Passion flowers have lots of names. They’re also known as passiflora, passion vines and, because of the fruit, some people are most familiar with the name “passion fruit”.

Passion flowers belong to a single genus, which contains over 500 different species. The flowers are very showy and possess unusual, and eye-catching corona. The flowers, when fertilized, develop into a indehiscent fruit (technically a berry).

Religious Origin of the Name “Passion Flower”

The name “passion flower” has a distinctly religious origin. In the 1500s Catholic priests picked the name. They chose the name “passion” because of the suffering and death, (a.k.a. the Passion) of Jesus Christ.

Logic being that parts of the flower represented elements of the Passion. For example, the flower had five petals and five petal-like sepals (so ten in total). The priests believed that these ten “petals” correlated to the ten apostles who stayed loyal to Jesus throughout the Passion.

Additionally, the priests believed the flower’s circle of thin, tendril-like appendages above the petals resembled the crown of thorns Jesus was forced to wear on the day he was crucified.

Coevolution – A Symbol of Symbiosis, Balance, Unity

Passion flowers are a good example of coevolution. What is coevolution? Well, it is when two different organisms evolve alongside each other with a very close association. For example, in flowers, it is common for flowers and the pollinators of flowers to coevolve to better suit each other. This is the case with the passion flower. There are certain species of passion flower that are pollinated by hummingbirds. The hummingbird in question has evolved a very, very long beak in order to feed from that specific type of passion flower.

passion flower
By Retromoderns – Passion FlowerUploaded by uleli,
CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12666665

So, what is the spiritual meaning behind this? Well, it’s about a few things. Firstly, it’s about symbiosis. As such, consider your life and how closely you work with people. Especially loved ones, family members, and friends. Although, it could also relate to synergy issues in the workplace. To act on this message, consider how you can better to adapt to the mutual benefit of yourself and the important people in your life.

Passion Flowers, a Symbol of Unconventional Beauty

Concepts of beauty are certainly fashion-dependent. To see that, just look at the different beauty icons throughout history. While there is a lot of variety in the appearance of flowers, there are some that look more “normal”. But, if you can recall the first time you saw a passion flower you might remember the sensation of: wow, what an unusual flower.

It’s generally agreed upon that passion flowers have unusual flowers. But, it’s also agreed that they are quite attractive (of course, allowing for personal taste). So, when a passion flower presents itself to you in a way that feels significant—i.e. your intuition tells you that there is a message there—then it is reminding you that beauty does not have to follow the rules.

Passion Flowers: Butterflies & Deception

Passion flowers have an interesting relationship with butterflies.

Specifically, certain species of butterfly like to lay their eggs on the leaves of passion flowers. As such, the passion flower has evolved a clever defense tactic. It has evolved little nubs that appear on the leaves. These nubs are supposed to resemble butterfly eggs, thereby discouraging butterflies from laying their eggs on the leaves because they believe the plant is already overcrowded by competitors.

passion flower
By John Flannery from Richmond County, North Carolina, USA – Passion Flower,
CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49219458

Therefore, the passion flower is emblematic of clever deception. But, it doesn’t just stand for any old deception. Rather, it stands for righteous deception to protect self and family. So, while it is generally (and obviously) bad to lie in most situations, the passion flower presents itself as a message that if you or your family are at risk and a white lie can protect you then… well, go ahead and lie your pants off. Safety first.

Further Reading

By Muffet / liz west – https://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/197018313/in/photostream/
CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14958617
Modified from original