Passion vines are fast-growing tropical perennials with bright green foliage and showy, scented flowers. Though native to southern Brazil and Argentina, the passion vine flower can also be found growing wild along the mid-Atlantic coastal states of the United States. Long ago, Catholic missionaries used parts of the passion vine flower to teach about the crucifixion of Christ.
Passion flowers have three stigmas, or female receptive parts, that receive and germinate the pollen grain before sending it in a tube through the style to an ovule and placing it inside the ovary. Catholic missionaries likened the three stigmas to the three nails used during the crucifixion.
Anthers and Filament
The anthers and filament are the male stamen of the passion vine flowers. Pollen is emitted from the anthers onto the female stigma to start the reproduction process. As part of their teachings, Catholic missionaries related the five anthers to the five wounds of Christ.
Sepals & Petals
There are five sepals and five petals on each passion flower. At first glance, the flower appears to have 10 whitish petals. But if you look closer, you will see that every other petal has a green margin; these are the sepals. The missionaries attributed the 10 petals and sepals to the 10 disciples, excluding Peter and Judas.
One of the most interesting parts of the passion flower is the corona. The missionaries compared it to Christ's crown of thorns, but it actually is a special kind of outgrowth where the sepals, petals and sexual parts join together in the center of the flower.