Posts Tagged ‘Passion flower’

Passion Flower, Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Passion Flower, (Passiflora Incense), Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

raw beauty rises
from pine needles and sandspurs
ground dry as a bone

purple passion blooms
not a flower but a vine
wilting Georgia heat

veined leaves swallow sun
digest light into flowers
one day of glory

Life Blood (Of The Passion Flower), Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Not A Flower But A Vine, Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Not A Flower But A Vine, Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Life Blood (Of The Passion Flower), Not A Flower But A Vine, Augusta, Georgia, July 2008, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Post Script:  I feel fortunate to have gotten these shots last week. I had never seen a Passion Flower up close; I found out later that many species only bloom one day a year (much like the Prickly Pear cactus). If Mom had not turned her head out the car window that day, I would have lived another year without experiencing this beautful flower in the flesh.

I am grateful that Mom knows her flowers. (Thank you, Mom. Oh, and Happy Birthday, Sis and Uncle B.!) Here are some other secrets of the Passiflora from different sites (the Wikipedia entry is excellent with photographs of many of the different species):

  • ABOUT THE PASSIFLORA:  9 species of Passion Flower (out of about 500) are native to the United States, found from Ohio to the north, west to California and south to the Florida Keys. Most are vines, some are shrubs, a few species are herbaceous. The fruit of the passiflora plant is called passionfruit. The bracts are covered by hairs which exude a sticky fluid that sticks to insects. Studies have suggested this might be an adaptation similar to carnivorous plants.
  • ONE DAY:  In Victorian times the flower (which in all but a few species lasts only one day) was very popular and many hybrids were created.
  • HERBAL REMEDIES:  The leaves and roots have a long history of use among Native Americans in North America. Passiflora edulis and a few other species are used in Central and South America. The fresh or dried leaves are used to make an infusion, a tea that is used to treat insomnia, hysteria, and epilepsy, and is also valued for its painkilling properties. Some contain beta-carboline harmala alkaloids which are MAOIs with anti-depressant properties.
  • POLLINATION:  Decorative passifloras have a unique flower structure, which requires a large bee to effectively pollinate. In the American tropics, wooden beams are mounted very near passionfruit plantings to encourage Carpenter bees to nest. Some species can be pollinated by hummingbirds, bumble bees, wasps; others are self-pollinating.
  • WHAT’S IN A NAME?  Passion Flower does not refer to love, but to the Christian theological icon of the passion of Christ on the cross. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries discovered this flower and adopted its unique physical structures as symbols of Crucifixion. The radial filaments which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower represent the Crown of Thorns. The 10 petals and sepals represent the 10 faithful apostles. The top 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the lower 5 anthers represent the 5 wounds.
  • KNOWN ACROSS THE WORLD:  In Spain, Passiflora is known as Espina de Cristo (Christ’s Thorn). In Germany it was once known as Muttergottes-Schuzchen (Mother-of-God’s Star). In Israel they are referred to as clock-flower (שעונית). In Japan, they are known as clock plant (時計草 tokeisō). In North America they are also called the Maypop, the water lemon, and the wild apricot (after its fruit). Native Americans in the Tennessee area called it ocoee, and the Ocoee River and valley are named after it.

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, August 10th, 2008

-related to posts: WRITING TOPIC – NAMES OF FLOWERS, PRACTICE – Summer – 20minhaiku (one-a-day)

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I remember last week, we were pulling out of Uncle B.’s driveway. Mom and I were both clean, showered, and shorn, but already drenched to the bone with Georgia humidity. “Oh, Passion flowers, you should get a picture of those,” Mom said. I tried to peer over the edge of the Benz window to see what she was talking about. Low and flat to the ground were these starbursts of purple, the likes I had never seen before. Passion flower. The leaves around them were a broad, deep green, providing a little yoga mat for their luscious blooms. I hopped right out of the car with my Canon.

Mom waited while I took a few shots. I found myself wanting to spend most of the time in Georgia inside in the air conditioning of cars, motel rooms, and my uncle’s new home on Clarks Hill Lake. But the trip demanded that I experience the dogged heat of July in Georgia. I wonder if those dog day afternoons come from the way animals lie in the shade or drape over anything cool they can find so they don’t have to move. That’s the way I felt most of the time we spent outside in the Deep South.

Except by the Atlantic on St. Simons Island. We spent only one day on the beach, two on the island. Mom sat on a blanket high on the sand while Liz and I rolled up our pant legs and traipsed around in ankle deep salt water. It was low tide and all the beachcombers were searching for shells. Liz happened to find the most beautiful conch shell (she’s lucky that way) and pulled it up for all to see. A young girl about 12 came over to see what we had found. Her dad was quick to tell us that we’d have to boil the critter who was living in it out of the shell or it would stink to high heaven.

He also said there were very few shells on St. Simons so Liz was lucky to find one so beautiful with not a crack or chip in sight. After running the shell up to show Mom, we decided to return the conch to the sea. Liz wandered out a ways from shore and dropped her back under. Later that night, we ate at 4th of May on a little shopping strip street that runs into the pier. Afterwards, we took the pier walk and checked out the lighthouse. The salt air was blowing across the Atlantic. It was the coolest I had felt in days.

It felt good to travel somewhere new, to get out of my own environment and drop into Summer. The next night, my second cousin came down to St. Simons from Midway. Mom had not seen her in something like 40 years. I turned on the tape recorder while the two of them talked about family history. Some I was too young to remember. But I had seen the photographs. Their perspectives on my great grandmother varied with their childhoods. One’s ceiling, the other’s floor. I was fascinated. We whipped out the queen-sized family tree I printed out before we left Pennsylvania. And Liz talked to my second cousin’s husband about the sci-fi book he was writing.

I kept thinking about how different our experiences are, even in the same family. I thought of my brother and everything he was going through in Pennsylvania, the stress on him, the stress on the family. I thought of the cool 92 degrees in Minnesota, the home I had left a week before. I thought of the rural drive through small towns in Georgia, the Claxton Fruit Cake people, the record breaking catfish caught by a local Georgia angler. I asked Liz if she liked catfish. “I don’t like to eat bottom feeders,” she said. I thought about the huge carp my step-dad caught when I must have been only 8 or 9.

Was he in Yamasee with my grandfather? Or fishing Clarks Hill Lake where he swears he once saw an alligator. After that, when Liz and I were sitting on the dock, reading Flannery O’Connor’s letters, The Habit Of Being, I could swear she was keeping one eye open for gators. It did make me a little leery of dipping my pinky into the lake. But the kids jumped in headfirst. They are fearless. A water moccasin once swam by me when I was about 10, swimming in Clarks Hill Lake. I was paddling along shore while Mom was out waterskiing. I guess I used to be fearless, too.

I have noticed how much more fearful we get as the bones move up in years. But Passion flowers keep blooming, alligators keep snapping, conch shells still swim the 7 seas, and I can’t change the history of the past. I can only learn to know it. Keep writing it all down. My interpretation. Another layer of cracked clay and burnt orange sediment at the bottom of a life.

-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, August 9th, 2008

-related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – SUMMER

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