In the 16th Century Christian Missionaries in South America named the flower (Passiflora spp) because they saw it as being a symbol of the death of Jesus Christ. It was the first flower they saw on their journey and they saw it as a good sign.
They thought that the five sepals and the five petals of the passion flower represented the ten disciples without Judas Iscariot and Peter.
They also thought that the double row of filaments (corona) on the passion flower represented the crown of thorns that Jesus was made to wear. It also resembled a halo.
The vine tendrils represented the whips that were used to scourge Jesus.
The styles of the flower represented the nails Jesus had hammered into his palms and ankles when crucified.
The stamens represented the wounds Jesus sustained when crucified.
Where Passion Flowers Grow
They grow naturally in the southern part of the United States and in South America. They are grown in plantations in Australia, Brazil, Hawaii and Kenya. They are also grown in artificial conditions such as The Palm House in Kew Gardens.
There are over 55 species of Passion Flower. Their fruit is edible.